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The

PESACH

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Education

inspiration

tradition

Contents

From crumb to sky…………………………………………… 2 The personal touch .…………………………………………. 4

Ma Nishtana— a study in contrasts…

Given to all………………… ………………………………… 5

What’s behind the Matza Kneidl?

Why all the fuss?.……………………………………………….6 Atbash……………………………………………………………… 7 Seder Table—a practical guide ……………………….8 Pesach in numbers……………………………………………. 10

What is there to celebrate?.……………………………….11 Why a seder?…………………………………………………… 11

5

6

Grandfather’s maror…………

14

Four sons make one…………………………………………

15

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From crumb to sky

By Rabbi jonathan guttentag director

-

Halocho has a special word for the smallest

quantity - ma'she-hu. At Pesach the smallest crumb of leavened substance, one may neither eat nor possess. Even trace elements of chametz can not be discounted and do not become nullified. Such a principle does not apply in other spheres of kashrus, where we can often rely on nullification of the pro- hibited particles in a majority (bittul be-rohv) or in sixty times (bittul be-

shishim). Why is it, that particularly with the laws of chometz on Pesach we find the principle of ma'she-hu?

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik offered a most worthwhile idea. Ma'she-hu, the smallest amount of chametz that is not nullified, is a symbol of the Jewish people through the ages. Over 3,000 years ago in Pharaoh's Egypt they started attempting to 'nullify' us, and yet we are the eternal people and it was Hashem's will that we should survive.

Thus the prohibition of chametz on Pesach carries with it the uplifting mes- sage for am yisrael from the beginning of their history: that throughout the millennia, in spite of the foes which were destined to surround them, and which would attempt to nullify them, eynon beteylim, they would not be- come nullified.

Therefore at the Yom Tov of Pesach, which celebrates the existence of the Jews as a nation, when the Children of Israel became the People of Israel, we are given the mitzvah of chametz to observe, based on the principle that even the smallest quantity does not become nullified, mashehu eyno boteyl.

Am Yisroel is a very small people - 12 million Jews as against the world's 1 billion Muslims and 1.9 billion Christians. The Jewish people, it has been ob- served by an American writer, is smaller than a small statistical error in the Chinese population census.

When we consider those relative numbers we see how breathtakingly pro- phetic are the words of the Torah: lo meyrubchem mi-kol ho'amim choshak Hashem bochem vayivchar bochem, 'not because of your greater numbers than the other nations did Hashem desire you and choose you' ; ki attem hame'at mikol ho'amim, 'for you are the least numerous of all the na- tions' (Devarim 7;7).

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And here we come across a working principle of Jewish life, we don’t play the numbers game. Numbers don’t count. That is the message that arises from a verse that we recite as part of our daily prayers, which describes G-d in the following terms:

Moneh mispor lakochovim He counts the number of stars, Lechulom sheymos yikro - to all of them He assigns names. Godol Adoneynu verav koach - Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; li'sevunaso eyn mispor - to His understanding there is no 'number'. Psalm

(147;4-5)

This wording is difficult to comprehend. Surely the verse should say ‘to His understanding there is 'no limit', or ‘to his understanding there is 'no end' - lisevunoso eyn sof. Tevunah, understanding, is not something that is to be counted by numbers? In answer, Rabbi Soloveitchik suggests a new way of reading the phrase: lisevunoso: in Hashem's deep understanding - eyn mispor 'number is of no significance’.

For in the preceding verse G-d is described as supervising the heavenly and the lofty. He is depicted as counting stars, giving each one a name. Such a G-d who deals in the huge and the celestial, in the creation and managing of the universe, what interest should He have in the small details of this world and lowly human life? The final phrase shows that indeed Hashem does have that interest: in G-d's deep understanding (lisevunoso) number and size (mispor) has no significance (eyn).

But this year on Erev Pesach morning, Wed 8 th April 2009, we are given the opportunity to combine our atttention to the lowly and mundane, with a gaze that focuses upwards on the very heavens. For the opportunity arises to recite a beracha that occurs only once every twenty eight years - the bless- ing of the sun, Birkat Hachamah.

According to the biblical account of Bereishis, the sun and the other luminar- ies were created and started to function on the fourth day of Creation. Tradi- tion has it that this occurred at the tekufah of Nissan (the traditional Jewish calculation of the spring equinox). Jewish tradition recognises a solar cycle of the anniversary of this event that takes twenty eight years to complete. On completion of that cycle on the Wednesday of the spring equinox the bless- ing is to be recited oseh maaseh Bereishis – delcaring that G-d ‘fashions the works of Creation.

Chag Kasher V’Sameach

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The personal touch

By Rabbi Dovid eisenberg - whitefield community kollel

We live in a world of comparisons. Every game of football that we watch has

statistics and compares the different players of the teams. Companies are always looking to downsize and will compare their employees to see who brings the best results. The cars we drive, the watches and clothes that we wear our holiday destinations are all up for scrutiny and comparison. The Internet is booming with comparison websites. Whether it’s car insurance, electrical appliances or just about anything you can think of, it is always looked at in comparison with something else.

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In the haggadah we read of the four sons. The torah has four different narratives describing the answer to be given to each of the sons when they ask about the Exodus from Egypt. In the introductory paragraph it states as follows “The Torah speaks in regard to four sons: One is a wise son, one is a wicked son, one is a simple son and one son does not know how to ask.” There is an obvious difficulty with this statement. Why does the haggadah have to write the word “one” four times? Would it not have been sufficient to write that the torah spoke about four sons the righteous, wicked, simple and the one unable to ask questions?

The answer to this question is a very fundamental one and it goes to the core of what the seder night is all about. The seder night, historically, has always been one of passing down of traditions, as well as the quintessential educational experience. It is therefore imperative that the ideals of the seder be given over properly and according to each child’s ability.

Here is where the writer of the haggadah felt it was important to make a distinct difference between each of the children. Each child is a like a different world. His emotions, intellect and being are radically different from every other person that walks the face of this planet. We should not forget this when passing on the tradition and just do it on a large scale. There is ONE child who is wise and ONE child who is simple. Never make the mistake of confusing the two or treating them equally! That is why each one of the four sons got the word “one” put in front of it to symbolize this individuality.

Today, more than ever, we must learn internalize the correct approach to child rearing. Every child is special and different and we, as parents, and grandparents, have the responsibility to teach and deal with the child according to his talents, ability and needs. Hopefully we can take this lesson of the seder and integrate it into our lives making us better and more effective parents and granting us many years of nachas from our children.

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Ma nishtana a study in contrasts

By Rabbi mendy melinek - whitefield community kollel

On seder night children worldwide ask their

fathers four questions, known as the Ma Nishtana. These are four pertinent ques- tions—but where does the hagaddah actually answer them?

The Abarbanel (1437-1508) explains that the four questions are really four examples of a conflict in the emphasis of moods that the children notice throughout the night. On the one hand they notice us dipping parsley into salt water, eating bitter foods and poor mans’ bread (matza) - all of which setting a sombre tone; whereas we also drink wine, and lean, denoting freedom and a more upbeat and festive mood.

The father replies “originally our ancestors were slaves in Egypt for many years” - this is commemorated by eating maror and dipping into salt water (a reminder of the Jewish tears, cried through the years).—”but Gd brought us out of slavery with a strong hand and outstretched arm” - and for this very reason we recline and drink wine, to relive the great exodus that resulted in our freedom.

This is really the underlying theme and ultimate purpose of the seder night—to view ourselves as if we personally left Egypt after all the bitter years, leading us to a real feeling of gratitude to Gd for everything he did, and does for us both then and now.

By jonathan caller - whitefield boys house

Given to all

'Baruch HaMakom Baruch Hu Baruch Shenatan Torah LeAmo Yisrael Baruch

Hu

keneged

arba banim'

In Maggid, the four sons are introduced with the seemingly unrelated decla- ration that 'Blessed is He Who gave the Torah to His people, Israel'. Indeed, according to the Haggada, this declaration 'corresponds to' the four sons.

Rav Mordechai Elon explains beautifully that each of the sons - the wise one, the wicked one, the simple one and the one that does not know how to ask, are children of Hashem. The Torah was given to all of them. The Torah was given to each of us, not to a select few. Internalising this not only gives us strength and inner-belief, but also allows us to appreciate others, remove barriers and bring us closer together, a crucial objective of Seder night.

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Whats behind the matza kneidl

By Rabbi ari gutman - whitefield community kollel

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The most meaningful family meal in Jewish life takes place on the first night of Pesach. The Seder relives and retells the story of the Jewish exodus from Egyptian bondage. Ever since that year (1312 BCE) Jewish families have gathered on Pesach so that their children—the next generation—will hear about the most wondrous miracles of the redemption. This is not just another Jewish custom—it is a mitzvah actually rooted in the Torah.

But why over a meal? Why all the fuss? Why not just spend a big longer in Shul and sit down to eat dinner straight away like on Purim?

Rabbi Avigdor Miller explains this with a moshel. A business man wants to sell some real estate to a fellow investor—the first thing he does is invite him out for lunch , when over lamb chops and a few glasses of wine the selling process begins. While the investor’s palate is satisfied—the deal can only go in the seller’s favour! It’s amazing what a full stomach can do.

If the Torah wants us to sell the miraculous story of the exodus to our children in

the best possible way—the time to do it is as they are licking clean the plates after

a satisfying meal with matza and bitter herbs to start.

And why all the strange starters and eating restrictions? To get the questions firing out to stimulate the oncoming discussion.

So as you move through the detailed and heavily regulated introductory courses—

don’t lose their point in the detail—tonight even the Borsht and Matza Kneidl have

a purpose and meaning—to tell the story of the birth of our people and the start of their redemption from Egypt

Why all the fuss

But what’s the real point of Pesach and re-living the miraculous exit from Egypt? Why don’t we do the same thing for Rosh Hashana—celebrating Gd’s creation of the world? Pesach is here to re-inforce the fact that Gd did not just create the world and leave it be—but that his influence and leadership is ever-present whether revealed or hidden.

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ATBASH pesach and the calendar

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From understanding the alef beis

- by d leitner

A fascinating way to remember the dates of the Jewish holidays is by using the at-bash

alphabetic transformation method. This works by putting the first and last letters transposed e.g. alef—tof,

beis-shin, gimmel-reish and so on

The first (Alef) day of Pesach is always on the same day of the week as Tisha B’Av (starting with a Tof). There is significant symbolism behind this, as al-

luded to in a pasuk we mention in the Pesach haggadah

matza together with bitter herbs”. With the Matza representing freedom, nationhood and identify, the bitter herbs hint to tisha b’av– the national day of mourning for the temple, the resurrection of which will see our ultimate freedom realised.

- “you shall eat…

The second day of Pesach (Beis) falls each year on the same weekday as Sha- vuous (Shin), which is the second (beis) stage of our redemption, the giving of the Torah, which binds us together as a Jewish nation.

The third day of Pesach (Gimmel) is always on the same day of the week as Rosh Hashana (Reish) - reflecting the reflourishing of the new year as spring- time re-emphasises nature and the wonders of creation (Pesach is also called Chag HaAviv—the festival of Spring).

The fourth day (Daled) corresponds to the same day each year as simchas torah (denoted as a Kuf—for kriya –reading) the festival on which we celebrate reading the end and beginning of the torah, again emphasising the world’s replenishment and rejuvenation as in spring. To further bring home this idea, and to demonstrate the power of teshuva—repentance, which Hashem accepts all year round, the fifth day (Hey) always falls on the same weekday of the week as of Yom Kippur, known as Tzom Kippur (the fast of forgiveness) (Tzadi).

And finally, the 6th day (Vov) is always the same day of the week as Purim (Pey) on the same Hebrew year—one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, when Hashem saves the Jews from annihilation by the Persian king Achashverosh and his Amalekite minister Haman through hidden , rather than revealed miracles—in a contrasting manner to that of our leaving Egypt. Showing that miracles are not just present when we see them outright, but they operate all the time in the background to the same, enormous effect.

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Seder table

By Rabbi jonathan guttentag

 

WHAT?

WHO?

WHEN?

Seder

An 'audiovisual', interactive religious family experience

Home or Away - Family or Friends. The needy.

15 & 16 Nissan. Seder to start at nightfall

Arba Kossos - 4 cups of wine

Red or white wine, grape juice or mixture. Min cup size 3.3 fl ozs

Men, women, children. Ill? Consult a Rabbi

After - 1. kiddush; 2. maggid; 3 bentsching.

4

hallel

Leaning -

Reclining, leaning to left hand side;

All participants

cups of wine; matzo; koreych; afikomon

4

Heseybah

Karpas - dip vegetable in salt water

Radish, parsley, potato - any veg. that will not be used later for maror

Leader - first washes his hands - distributes to all participants

After kiddush

Yachatz

Divide the middle matzah into two unequal pieces

Leader watched by participants

After karpas

Maggid - telling story of Exodus

Reading and explaining haggodoh narrative. Wider - transmitting Jewish heritage

Leader involves all, communicating especially with children

Motzi Matza

Eating a minimum quantity of matzah -

All participants. Enough matzah on table for all participants to have

To be eaten within 9 minutes, or preferably within 2 minutes.

kezayis, sheet of matzah 6

x

7 inches

minimum size

Maror -

Lettuce leaves to cover an area of 8 x 10 ins

Leader gives out to all participants - No leaning

Before eating, dip into charoses and shake off

bitter herb

+

horseradish

Korech -

Lettuce and horseradish, in charoses with matzoh

Leader gives out to all participants

After maror

Hillel sandwich

Shulchan Orech

The main evening meal

All participants; help serve. Freedom festival for women, too!

Don't eat too much; afikomen and two cups still to come

- Meal

Afikomen

Finishing off the meal with a kezayis of matzah (6 x 7 in)

All participants to partake, shared out by leader

At the end of the meal after dessert, before chatzos - midnight (approx 1.14am)

 

Bentsching

The third cup of wine is poured beforehand

All – led by leader

Not later than 72 min. after last food

Hallel

The recitation of the paragraphs from Psalms

All - led by leader - other participants responsively as chazan and congregation

First two paragraphs before meal, the remainder after meal

 

Diaspora

Tourists

2nd day

Each par

enough t

At table;

Have salt

prepared

participa

The smal

motzi ma

Leader ra

and recit

then lets

the bera

In front o on the ta

Have ava 7 in) and participa Customa salt wate Temple ( night of Whereve or biddin shemura

Back at t gently!) Sitting ar Enjoy the

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The Seder can be a complicated and confusing experience— use this guide to navigate your way around the experience, make it run more smoothly, settle any hagadda differences and enjoy a meaningful Pesach.

WHERE?

15 and 16 Nissan

in Israel observe a 2nd seder (and

Yom Tov) ticipant should have a cup large

o contain 3.3. fl ozs

on pillow or arm of chair

water and vegetable ready

and enough to hand out to

nts

ler piece put back for later use as tzah a broken

ises all three matzos in his hands es the first beracha hamotzi. He go of the bottom matzo, and recites cha “al achilas matza”

f leader, more supplies should be

ble than can fit into the seder plate

HOW?

WHY?

Try to rest before - kids to sleep in

Torah commands a Jewish family event

afternoon.

to

tell the story of the Jews leaving Egypt

Drink most of the cup

lean to the left

Symbolic of freedom. Corresponds to four expressions of freedom in Shemos (6;6-7)

To the left - to ease digestion

To the left - to ease digestion A symbolic demonstration of freedom
To the left - to ease digestion A symbolic demonstration of freedom
To the left - to ease digestion A symbolic demonstration of freedom

A symbolic demonstration of freedom

To the left - to ease digestion A symbolic demonstration of freedom

All recite together the beracha - boreh pri ho'adomoh

The unusual procedure of vegetable

straight after kiddush awakens curiosity

of children (and everyone else).

Larger piece wrapped and hidden - possibly for ransom

So that the subsequent eating of matzah be from broken pieces - poor man's bread

Can be recited in Hebrew/English. Try to include everyone around the table.

Torah commandment: Ve-higadeto levincho bayom hahu; 'and you shall tell your son on that day'

Shemurah matzah - supervision from an early stage in manufacture than standard matzah; Either machine made or handmade Leaning to left

Fulfillment of the Torah command. Dual aspects - the bread of affliction, reminder

of

the slavery; bread of freedom - a

reminder of the Exodus.

Lettuce - bug warning; wash, inspect each leaf carefully by light. Horseradish grated fresh. Not pickled from jar.

Symbolic of bitter slavery. Pesach offering was eaten with bitter

herb

ilable on table enough matzo (4 in x lettuce / horseradish for each

The maror part dipped into charoses,

A

commemoration of Temple: matza and

maror were eaten with meat of pesach

nt

Leaning on the left side

 

lamb

ry

to begin with hard boiled egg in

Enjoy.

Customary not to have

Biblical command to celebrate yom tov with fine food

r

- commemorating destruction of

roasted foods - To avoid appearance of roasted Pesach

offering

nb: Tisha B'Av is always on same week as first seder)

 

r you can find it! If hidden too well,

Leaning to the left. No further food

A

symbolic reminder of the lamb meat of

g goes too high, just distribute more h matzah from box

to be eaten (except the two cups). Final impression left on us is taste of matzah

the korban pesach - in Temple times - which was eaten at the end of the meal

able, (wake up any sleepers -

Bentsching introduced by mezuman - a three man quorum

Biblical command, to eat, be satisfied, and bless.

ound the table

Hebrew reading needs a brush up?

Hallel means praise - thanksgiving to G-d for miracles of Exodus

tunes

Hebrew Reading Crash Course:

Call The Forum 766 2150

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[ Pesach in numbers

The Seder (literally, order) comprises of 15 distinct parts, known by the words Kadesh, Urchatz etc., corresponding

to the 15 different aspects of Hashem’s kindness names in the popular song—Dayenu. Hashem took us out of Egypt AND punished our enemies AND split the seas AND gave us wealth etc.

By rabbi yanky prijs - Whitefield community kollel

Four cups, four sons, four questions! And even four matzos (after the middle on is split). The legendary scholar, the Vilna Gaon, explains these may correspond to the four dan- gerous situations requiring a thanksgiving offering (and today the HaGomel blessing) which the Jewish nation were saved from.

1. Illness—the Jews all underwent the bris milah procedure.

2. Prison—they were freed from their enslavement.

3. Sea travel—they passed safely through the Red Sea.

4. Desert - 40 years travel and accommodation in the desert.

Four cups: the Jerusalem Talmud explains that these correspond to:

a) the four expressions of the different aspects of redemption in Exodus 6

(freedom from work, leaving Egypt, destruction of their masters in the sea and becoming Hashem’s chosen nation)

b) the four kingdoms that would continue to exile or enslave the Jewish nation through our history, but who we will survive. (Babylon, the Medes, Greeks and “Roman Exile”, which we are still enduring),

c) The four ways in which the Jews stayed apart from the Egyptians to avoid

assimilation. (They kept their names, language, dress and loyalty to each other)

We dip twice during the seder. The karpas is dipped into salt water and the maror into charoset. The Shela explains that these relate to the two dippings that caused the exile and which helped save the Jews from it:

1. The dipping of Joseph’s technicolour dreamcoat into blood, following his sale to Egypt, causing their descent into the country and the subsequent exile. 2. The mitzvah on their final night to dip into blood and sprinkle on the doorpost, so Hashem would pass-over the Jewish houses and save them (This is commemorated nowadays with Mezuzas to protect our homes.)

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What is there to celebrate

By rabbi yanky prijs - Whitefield community kollel

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One, more than pertinent question to ask throughout the s eder, is “what really is there to celebrate—aren’t we still in exile?”

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin (1881-1966) answers this question by drawing on an expression we use each night when davening Ma’ariv (evening prayer) - that Gd has taken us out of Egypt “l’cheirus oiam” - to eternal freedom.

The main attainment of leaving the Eqyptian exile was our Jewish spiritual freedom, that allowed us to practice the Torah by subjugating ourselves to such a worthwhile pursuit that was to be our national treasure, keeping us going through all other physical exiles as proud Jews.

Wherever Jews have been, through whatever trials, identity and loyalty to Judaism and its tenets. Why celebrate when we’re still in exile? - to remember how close we are to the exodus generation in terms of our beliefs, loyalty and reliance on Gd; and how we have the responsibility to uphold these in our own lives.

[ why a seder

The Sfas Emes (1847-1905) asks why we call the procedure of seder night a "seder" - the word "seder" means "order" denoting a regular, predictable series of events. This could be called an odd term to choose, in light of the fact that we celebrate the most potent series of miracles—stark departures from the normal “natural” order.

His answer is both deep and thought-provoking. For the Jewish people, our natural order is the miraculous. We have a seder of miracles. We were forged in impossible circumstances (Avraham’s father was an idol worshipper, his wife Sarah was baron, Joseph was sold to Egpyt and rose to be the viceroy, etc.) and conceived in a blaze of miracles (redeemed from Egypt through the sees, facilitated by the ten plagues etc.). We could never descend into the natural, living by a prescribed order of nature; the tale of our existence and retained identity is owed to Gd’s miracles—for us to deny these would be

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Wisdom, understanding and growth

Rabbi tom meyer

courtesy of aish.com

And even if all of us were wise, all men of understanding, all elderly, all of us knowing the Torah, there is still a mitzvah upon us to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. And whoever talks about it at length is praiseworthy.

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What does it mean to be "wise?" Wisdom is intuitive insight. You just look at things and grasp the meaning and truth.

What is "understanding?" That's being able to draw principles and lessons from the information you receive. That's deeper because it involves intellectual analysis.

The Haggadah also lists the "elderly?" They are wise from life experience.

And then there's "knowledgeable in Torah." That's having a strong tradition to back you up.

Even the wisest Jew has to talk about what it meant to leave Egypt. And even someone sitting at the Seder alone -- no children, no guests, nobody else -- still has to talk to himself about leaving Egypt.

Why? Because we all need to work on getting out of the body. And even though you work the whole year, remember this is a yearly cycle. Next year you're going to work on it another way. We need to constantly focus and grow. The process lasts a lifetime. No matter how big you are, you can always grow.

"And whoever talks about it at length is praiseworthy." The more you work on

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Who knows one

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Have you ever wondered why the author of the Hagaddah composed this song and in- serted it at the end of seder service?

By rabbi Yechiel emanuel - whitefield community kollel

I once heard a thought provoking answer. There are certain words which when mentioned elicit a typical response or remind you of a particular some- thing. For example, if you were to mention the word knife to someone they would (hopefully) think of a fork – high and low, black and white etc.

If you were trying to educate a child and inculcate within them manner – you would try and make them instinctively say “please” when making a request and “thank you” when receiving it, possibly even “it’s a pleasure” when being thanked.

At the end of the seder, which is meant to be spent learning and teaching about our exodus from Egypt thereby inculcating within our children a belief in Gd, appreciation of his divine authority, responsibility and intervention, we now want them to instinctively remember these points – so that upon hear- ing the number one – their minds are instantly triggered to think one is Hashem, two are the tablets etc.

We must endeavour to gear our seder in order to educate our children to be proud of their heritage, realising that we are the chosen nation and that our history is unique. One good idea is to give them these simple pointers that will always help them to make easy reference to matters of great importance – the basis of our faith, culture and tradition.

Counting on us

On the second night of Pesach, we start to count 49 days of the Omer, leading up to Sha- vuos—the giving of the Torah. This mirrors the journey of the Jews through the desert on their way out of Egypt, as they climbed 50 steps up the spiritual ladder that would pre- pare them to receive the Torah after being steeped in exile for so long,

Rabbi Mordechai GIfter, Rosh Yeshiva of Telz in America, explains the counting as more than a ‘countdown’, asserting that the point of the Jews leaving Egypt was to get the Torah and their unique identity—to leave Egypt with only physical freedom would be an incomplete exodus. Therefore we connect these two pivotal festivals together to emphasize the real purpose of

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Grandfather s maror

"You cannot understand what it was like You can't imagine."

By Chani Newman - courtesy of Aish.com

Suddenly our family Seder, usually exuberant with words of Torah, song, and the tell- ing of our ancestors' exodus from Egypt, becomes more solemn, as my grandfather approaches the Hagadda with the baggage of a Holocaust survivor.

"What about all the times when God didn't save us?"

He can't help but ask the unanswerable questions which continue to haunt his thoughts. The younger generations sitting at the table grapple to explain the "answers" we tell ourselves to support our beliefs -- beliefs my grandfather himself puts into practice even after years of questioning. But as soon as he says it, describing just two graphic examples of the horror, I know my grandfather is right: "You were not there. You can never understand."

I distract myself by casting my gaze downward toward the bowl of maror (bitter

herbs) sitting before me. I hold a plastic fork in my hand, using it to mix around the

ground up pieces of horseradish. The tiny pieces move around the bowl easily, ready to be swallowed with a minimum amount of challenge to the taste buds.

And then, my fork hits something solid. Mixed up among the tiny pieces lies a large chunk of the original horseradish root, as solid as ever. I try to cut it and stab it with my fork, but to no avail. This piece will not be broken up tonight. It is too large, too hard, and too strong and bitter for anybody to eat whole.

I look up at my grandfather. I attempt to say something worthwhile, some words of

comfort. We are still here, getting stronger, still praising God for the good. Thoughts

that evil is man-made flit through my head. Thoughts that perhaps, regardless, we just can't understand, mortal humans as we are. But as my eyes turn back to the maror, silence is my response.

Why can't that chunk just go away? It's so much easier to deal with the mixture that has gone through the food processor. Frustrated, I stab at the chunk again, thinking how this piece is more connected to its root than the other pieces. This piece contains more bitterness than any of the ground up pieces.

continued overleaf

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Grandfather s maror continued

The images will not go away from my grandfather's brain. He speaks of rabbis humiliated by Nazis who cut their skin off together with their beards, of public hangings. The pain and bitterness is rock solid, indigestible. But for myself, my broth- ers, my parents, the pain is ground up into tiny, palatable pieces. What can we do about the troubled solid chunk sitting in the bowl?

My eyes divert from the bowl before me and shift to the other symbolic foods on the table. They stop and rest on the lump of charoset (a mixture of sweet ingredi- ents, including apples, wine, and nuts) on the Seder plate. We add sweet charoset to soften the maror's sharpness. The charoset, with its mortar-like texture and blood- like ingredient of red wine, acknowledges the suffering and bitterness of the Hebrew slaves, while also introducing hope for sweetness in the future generations of our People.

The charoset contains fruits to which the eternal Jewish Nation is compared, and apples associated with Jewish women in Egypt giving birth to the next generation. I peer at my family, seated around the table, and think of my new six-month-old nephew, my grandfather's first great-grandchild, whose family celebrates the holi- day in far-off Israel.

Taking in the Passover spirit, I realize there is but one thing we can do to respond to my grandfather at such a Seder. We dip the maror in the charoset.

Four sons make one

When introducing the 4 sons, the Haggada writes that

By jonathan caller

- whitefield boys house

there is 'One wise, and one wicked, and one simple, and one who does not know how to ask'. It does seem a little strange that the word 'echad' 'one' is repeated four times! It could have written 'chacham, rasha, tam veshe'eino yodeah lishol'!

Rav Elon explains that that the numerical value of the word 'echad' 'one' is 13, and the numerical value of the word 'ben' 'son' is 52. Therefore it is only when we have all four 'echad's together do we have 'ben', a son. In essence, a son has each of these four aspects.

Appropriately, the name Eliyahu, Elijah, who we are waiting for particularly tonight to bless us, teach us how to 'restore the heart of fathers on chil- dren and the hearts of children on their fathers' and bring us together, also has a numerical value of 52.

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