Friday, April 28, 2017

A Midsummer Night's Shabbat

“Making early Shabbat,” means beginning Shabbat well before sunset. This is an especially important accommodation for residents of cities where the summer sun may not set until 9 or 10 at night. (In Trondheim, Norway, where there is a small Jewish community, the sunset may be as late as 11:20 pm!) By bringing in Shabbat early, the meal that is eaten after synagogue services can be enjoyed at a more normal hour. Also, small children can participate. 

And yet, in the Talmud (Shabbat 23b) Rabbi Joseph’s wife is told that Friday night candles cannot be lit too late (because it is already Shabbat) nor too early. How early is too early, and how is one permitted to alter the status of the day? (Shabbat becomes a 26 or 27 hour day.)

It is from the laws of Yom Kippur, when one is required to add a few minutes to the beginning and end of the day, that the sages understood the permissibility of expanding Shabbat. Since Yom Kippur is “Shabbat Shabbaton” a Sabbath type day, adding time may also be applied to Shabbat. 

There are, of course, rules that govern making an early Shabbat (and early Yom Kippur). For instance, one may not begin Shabbat at 2 pm in July. The determining factor, “plag hamincha” (one and a quarter “Jewish” hours before sunset), is the latest time that one may recite Mincha (the afternoon service) according to Rabbi Judah. Following his opinion, Maariv (the evening service) may be recited any time after plag hamincha--thus enabling one to start Shabbat at this time. Other sages, who disagreed with Rabbi Judah, maintained that the afternoon service may be recited until sunset, and Maariv only after sunset. Although Rabbi Judah’s opinion was not definitive, it is sufficient to allow a person to recite the Friday night prayers immediately following plag hamincha, thus transforming late Friday afternoon into early Shabbat.

This Treat was last posted on July 30, 2017.

NOTE: As with all Treats dealing with halacha (points of Jewish law), one should consult one's local rabbi for practical application.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.

Peace To You

Enjoy a day of rest, whether you start Shabbat on time or early, .

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Math Teacher’s Life

If Irving (Isaac) Adler had not lived during the fervent era of the rise and decline of Communism, his personal story might have been the simple life of a mathematician dedicated to the education of American youth. But for Adler, who was born in Harlem, New York, on April 27, 1913, the impassioned public attitude toward Communism greatly impacted his life.

Adler was an exceptional student who entered high school at the age of 11 and New York’s City College at 14. He went immediately into teaching after he graduated in 1931, and became part of New York’s Teachers Union shortly thereafter. In 1935, Adler joined the American Communist Party, although it does not appear that he was particularly active or that he assumed any sort of leadership role.

The trouble began in 1949, when New York State passed the Feinberg Law, allowing the Board of Regents (overseeing the public school system) to deny a person teaching privileges due to any “subversive” behavior. The Board of Regents began interviewing its teachers, who were asked directly whether they were members of the Communist Party. Adler stated his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, as did many others, and was suspended and later dismissed.

Because his family name began with “A,” Adler became the lead on a class action suit that was filed shortly thereafter. Adler vs. Board of Education moved quickly through the courts and was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1952. In a 6 - 3 decision, the Court supported the state. (This ruling was overturned in 1967 - Keyishian v. Board of Regents, and Adler received his pension.) Adler renounced his Communist membership a few years later when the Soviets invaded Hungary.

Adler’s love for teaching math was quickly rechannelled to writing, and, in 1952, his first of many science books for children, “The Secret of Light,” was published. In 1961. Shortly after moving to Vermont, Adler completed a doctorate from Columbia University. In addition to his children’s books, Adler published in professional journals, became a civil rights and anti-war activist, and became an advocate for “New Math.”

He passed away on September 22, 2012.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
Bibliography

Taking What You Are Taught


Teach the children in your life to value their education. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Citations

In 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization declared April 26th the day on which they would raise awareness about the importance of patents, copyright, trademarks and designs. In the quickly changing world of the information age, when the internet provides virtually instant access to so much information to so many people, the issue of proper use of intellectual property is often overlooked.

Judaism is, in many ways, a cerebral and intellectual religion. The Talmud (oral law) is filled with discussions and debates on points of law, both minute and grand. Students of Talmud have often been noted for their excellent ability to recognize and decipher problems based on the skills they learned from studying the depths of the oral law.

Regarding respect for intellectual property, Judaism places immense importance on giving credit where credit is due. In Pirkei Avot, the section of the Mishna associated with ethics, the sages noted that “saying [an idea] in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world” (Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 6:6). The example provided is from the Book of Esther, “Esther told the king in Mordechai’s name” (2:22). As a result of Esther’s actions, the Jews of Persia were saved from the evil schemes of wicked Haman. In the Talmud, however, one often finds even more lengthy citations in which one sage quotes another citing a third, all to ensure that an idea was attributed to its proper source.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.

Share It

When you share the information you learn from Jewish Treats, take a second to mention your source.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Strings of Red

Do an online search for the terms “red string” and “Judaism” and you will find a preponderance of discussions about the propriety of wearing a red string as a sign of bracha (blessing) or as a ward against the evil eye. These red strings are frequently handed out in return for charity at the Western Wall and Rachel’s Tomb. Opinions of the red string talisman range from calling it an ancient custom to naming it utter nonsense, with a wide range of opinions in between, and while mystical sources are cited in connection to the talisman, there are no references to it in either the Torah or the Talmud (written and oral law).

Scarlet strings, on the other hand, are mentioned as part of several rituals described in the Torah. “When Rav Dimi came [from the land of Israel to Babylon], he said in the name of Rabbi Jochanan: ‘I heard there were three [scarlet strings]. One for the [red] heifer, one for the scapegoat and one for the leper (a person with the skin disease tzara'at)” (Talmud Yoma 41b). The ritual of the red heifer served as a means of purifying those who had come in contact with the dead. The scapegoat, sent to the wilderness of Azazel as part of the Yom Kippur service, purified the nation of their sins. The third scarlet string helped purify an individual stricken with tzara'at, which was a disease caused by a spiritual impurity.


These scarlet strings all played an important part in significant rituals of Jewish life in the days of the Temple. They were not distributed or worn around the wrist (like the string given out at Rachel's Tomb and the Western Wall). Rather, they were ritually prepared with intention of helping the Jewish people fulfill their mission of becoming a holy nation.


Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
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Ask For It

Never hesitate to ask God for the things in life that you want, but remember that the answer might not always be yes.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fighting Against

In honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, Jewish Treats looks at some of the resistance effort of Jews against the Germans. Although partisans were only able to inflict limited local damage, they nevertheless played an important role in the defeat of the Nazis.

In France, one of the most powerful organized resistance groups was the Armee Juive (the Jewish Army). It was formed in 1942 by Abraham Polonski and Lucien Lublin, both of whom had been active in the Zionist movement prior to the war. Many of the members came from Zionist youth groups. Based in Toulouse, much of its action was focused in southern France. The Armee Juive participated in sabotage and uprising. It accepted Jews and non-Jews into its ranks, but fought  with a specifically Jewish identification. In addition to acts of violence, the Armee Juive took responsibility for smuggling hundreds of refugees into neutral Spain and distributing funds from Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to smaller Jewish resistance groups and Jews in need.

The Armee Juive joined forces with other Jewish resistance groups and also worked alongside the French national resistance groups. Resistance work was difficult and risky. In May 1944, a cell of 25 Armee Juive operatives was captured by the Gestapo in Paris. They were tortured for information before being sent to Buchenwald.


Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
Bibliography

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day

Today, the 28th* of Nisan, Jews around the world are marking Yom Ha’shoah (Officially Yom Ha’zikaron La’shoah V’la’g'vurah, which translates to The Day of Memorial for the Holocaust and the Heroism, generally shortened to Yom Ha’shoah). In Israel, the day is marked by official ceremonies, flags at half mast and, most famously, by a siren marking a moment of silence during which traffic comes to a standstill.

When World War II ended and the world was finally clearly aware of the incredible devastation wrought in Europe, there were no words. While mourning for their own nation’s soldiers, the world was faced with accepting the fact that the Nazis had purposefully and systematically murdered six million Jewish men, women and children as well as several million others whom they classified as lesser human beings.

The term “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin used to describe massacres. As it came to be applied to the events in Europe in the 1940s, the term emerged as the name for this highly specific genocide. This was strengthened by the release of the 1978 NBC mini-series of the same title.

In Hebrew, the Holocaust is referred to as Ha’shoah. Shoah means calamity. Similar to the term Holocaust, the term shoah gained further usage after the release of the 1985 French documentary entitled“Shoah.” The film condensed over 300 hours worth of interviews into 9.5 hours and brought the hard-hitting facts of the Holocaust into reality.

In traditional communities, the events of the Holocaust are referred to as "Churban Europe" or "the Churban," a term which parallels the destruction of the Torah learning centers in Europe with the destruction of the Holy Temple. Many traditional communities also mark a day of mourning for the victims of the Holocaust on an already established day of universal mourning, either the Tenth of Tevet or the Ninth of Av.

*Although Yom Hashoah's official date is 27 Nissan, it is observed on the 28th when the 27th is a Sunday.


Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.


Time Now

Spend time with a Holocaust survivor.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Remember

The Jewish nation has a long historical memory. Jewish history is replete with accounts of those who attacked Jews and Jewish communities, and the records of countless victims. On the other hand, the Jewish calendar also records dates commemorating the defeat of those who sought to destroy the Jewish nation. There is even a Biblical commandment to remember how the nation of Amalek tried to destroy the Jews by attacking the weak and the stragglers as they marched in the wilderness. The commandment begins with the word Zachor, which means remember.

A generation of Jews is now coming of age that is, in truth, the first generation who will need to be educated and, in effect, commanded, to remember the Holocaust. Those who survived the Nazi horrors are all too quickly becoming part of history themselves...and those who wish to distort history have gained strength as the number of eyewitnesses rapidly diminishes.

Holocaust Memorial Day, known in Hebrew as Yom Hashoah, literally “The Day of the Conflagration” is observed on the 28th* of Nissan (tomorrow. Today, people around the world recall those who perished and the world that was lost. It is vitally important that time be set aside for each and every Jew (indeed, each and every person) to stop and ponder...What if I had been there? What if it had been me?

Just two weeks ago, at the Passover seder, Jews read the following statement from the Haggadah: “In every generation, they rise up against us to destroy us. But, the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.”

Zachor, Remember! Each and every Jew must remember the uniqueness of the Jewish nation. Our remembrance of Jewish tragedies affirms our survival and victory. Hitler may have wanted to eradicate the Jews, but instead, the Jews stand tall and continue to REMEMBER.



*Although Yom Hashoah's official date is 27 Nissan (today), it is observed on the 28th when the 27th is a Sunday.  

This Treat was last posted on April 28, 2014.




Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.

Act on It

From sundown tonight until tomorrow night, make a conscious decision to think about those who perished in the Holocaust and honor their memory.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Place For the Artists

Marcel Janco, who passed away on April 21, 1984, is best known as one of the founders of the Dada movement, an avant-garde art movement of the early twentieth century that rejected traditional art aesthetics. Janco’s history, however, is that of a man impassioned with finding new ways of expressing the world around him. After leaving the Dadaist movement, he was involved in numerous types of artistic movements and also spent a great deal of time in developing new styles of architecture.

As was the case with many European Jews, the rise of nationalism and the growing power of the Nazis in Germany inspired in Janco a new perspective on his Jewish identity. He found himself faced with outright anti-Semitism and a growing sympathy for Zionism. He visited Palestine and made arrangements for his family to emigrate, but they did not do so until after the Bucharest Pogrom in 1941.

Janco’s career did not slow down with his change of country. While incorporating both his traumatic experiences and his new world in the burgeoning country of Israel, he continued to explore new ideas in art and architecture. He networked extensively with other artists and was one of the founders of the New Horizons artist group.  One of Janco’s greatest contributions to Israel’s art community was the development of an artists village named Ein Hod. Ein Hod is located near Haifa. Today, in addition to being home to numerous artists, Ein Hod is also the location of the Janco Dada Museum.


Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
Bibliography

Beautiful Shabbat

This Shabbat, take the time to enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Legal to Take?

With all the discussion, in the last few years, about the legalization of marijuana, one might have wondered what is the traditional Jewish perspective. It is, not surprisingly, a rather complicated topic about which Jewish Treats can only provide the most basic insights.

Until recently, the question of marijuana use was infrequently discussed since it was clearly defined as an illegal substance by the government. The Jewish perspective regarding civil law is dina d’malchut dina, the law of the land is the law, as long as it does not conflict with Jewish law.

When Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the leading halachic (Jewish legal) decider in the United States in the late 20th century, was asked about the use of marijuana as a recreational drug in 1973, he ruled that it was prohibited. His legal argument referred to "the rebellious son," (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) as defined by the oral Torah, who robs and steals from his parents in order to fulfill his cravings for physical gratification. A rebellious son can be liable to the death penalty, thus one should not lead oneself into a potentially addictive situation. He also argued about the inability of a person to study Torah or recite prayers properly while under the influence of any type mind altering substance.**

With the expanded access to medicinal uses of marijuana and the changing attitude, both culturally and legally, to its recreational use, the question has resurfaced with a new nuance. Jewish law places a tremendous priority on making a sick person comfortable, and there is new research that debates whether marijuana effects a person in the same way as other “drugs.” Because each case is individual, all questions regarding marijuana use should be presented to one’s rabbi.

**This includes being drunk.


Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
Bibliography

All Things in Moderation

Remember that moderation is key to a balanced life.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Not To Buy

The joyous holiday of Passover is now over. While one’s instinct might be to immediately run out to the supermarket and restock the pantry shelves with bread, snacks and all the desserts that were missed over the holiday, it is important to be aware of the issues that apply to buying and selling chametz (leaven products) that might have been owned by a Jew over Passover.

The Torah’s instructions for the celebration of Passover state: “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses” (Exodus 12:19), which is understood to mean that Jewish homes must be free of all chametz prior to the holiday. This can be achieved by either eating the chametz, destroying it, throwing it out or selling the chametz to a non-Jew. The sale of chametz is a specific process that is generally handled by a rabbi well-versed in these specific laws. After the holiday, the buyer sells the chametz back. The sale is completely legitimate and the non-Jew may, theoretically, take ownership of the purchased chametz on Passover or after the holiday by paying the full value of the chametz (although this rarely, if ever, occurs). The sale of chametz can be done for both individuals and businesses.

Since benefit from chametz owned by a Jew during Passover is prohibited by the Torah, buying chametz products after Passover becomes an issue. Small, Jewish-owned stores that cater to the Jewish community generally take care to properly sell their chametz. Large supermarkets, however, are often owned by larger corporations or conglomerates. If the ownership is at least 51% non-Jewish, there is no problem purchasing chametz immediately after Passover. However, if the majority ownership is Jewish, one is advised to wait for the average length of time it takes for the product inventory to turn-over (times may vary by product) and be restocked. Local rabbis can generally provide the necessary information for their communities.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.
 Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Delightful

Enjoy your chametz.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Seven Days To The Sea

The Passover celebration lasts seven days (eight days, outside of Israel. For more information as to why, please click here). The first day (and second, outside of Israel) is a Yom Tov, festival day, on which the seder is celebrated. However, the Torah also explicitly commands “and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you” (Exodus 12:16).

The Seventh Day of Passover (and eighth, outside of Israel) is the only Jewish festival that is distinctly not distinct. This is most noticeable by the fact that on every other Yom Tov (festival day), the special Sheh’heh’cheh’yanu blessing, which praises God for keeping us alive and allowing us to celebrate the holiday again this year, is recited either when one lights candles or following the recitation of kiddush (the blessing of sanctification over wine/grape juice).

The simplest explanation that Sheh'heh'cheh'yanu is not recited on the Seventh Day is that the offerings of the day were no different than those on the interim days of Passover. However, it should also be noted that the Seventh Day marks the anniversary of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, an event that was already praised during the seder. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he followed God’s directions “that they turn and encamp before Pi-Ha'chirot, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-Zephon: you shall encamp before the sea” (Exodus 14:2). By the time they encamped before the sea, Pharoah had changed his mind about freeing the Israelite slaves and led his army after them. At the moment of greatest peril, Moses stretched his staff over the waters, and God sent a strong east wind to split the sea, enabling the Israelites to cross on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to follow them, the watery walls crashed down upon them and the entire Egyptian army drowned. Since the entire holiday is a celebration of redemption, the story is not retold again in any grand ceremony on the Seventh Day. But, because of its importance, God gave His people the gift of an extra day of Yom Tov and elevated the day in commemoration of that glorious event. The additional festival day acknowledges that seven days after they left Egypt, the Israelites were once again miraculously redeemed and that the entire Passover holiday is a time of redemption.


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Mimouna

Jews rejoice on Passover to celebrate their redemption from slavery in Egypt. Because of Passover’s connection to redemption, there is much hope that the final redemption will soon be at hand (thus the inclusion of Elijah’s cup at the Seder). At the end of the week-long holiday, on the day after Passover, in order to prolong the rejoicing and, many say, as a means of asserting their faith in the final redemption, Jews of North African origin celebrate a unique holiday known as “Mimouna.”

While some have suggested that the name Mimouna derives from ma’amoun, the Arabic word for wealth and good fortune, others connect it to the Hebrew word emunah, faith. Taking the latter opinion one step further, the name may be an Arabic adaptation of the phrase, “Ani Ma’amin” (I believe).

Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides, Rambam, 1135-1204) set forth the Thirteen Principles of Faith, each of which begins with the phrase “Ani Ma’amin.” The twelfth statement of faith is: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming.” The connection between the Thirteen Maimonidean Principles of Faith and Mimouna is further confirmed since Mimouna is celebrated on the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Maimon ben Joseph, the Rambam’s father (a great scholar in his own right).

The Mimouna holiday, which is most often associated with Moroccan Jews but is customary among many North African communities, has no specific halachot (laws). The customs, however, reflect the community’s exuberant, joyful nature. Tables are decorated, often with symbols of luck and fertility (golden rings hidden in bowls of flour, items set out in sets of five, and sometimes live fish in bowls). Sweet delicacies (made of chametz) are served, particularly mofletta, a special pancake served with honey.


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Holiday Greetings

NJOP and Jewish Treats wish all of their friends and followers a happy "final days' of the Passover holiday.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Song of Songs

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens loved you. Draw me, we will run after you...” (Song of Songs 1:2-4).

And people say the Bible is boring...

Shir Ha'shirim, The Song Of Songs, the Biblical love song attributed to King Solomon, is understood by the rabbis to be a prophetic allegory about the relationship of God and the Jewish people.

The poetic work describes a beautiful maiden who loves, and is loved by, a handsome youth. When he pursues her, however, she sends him away with various excuses, only to realize too late that he was her true love. Devastated at the thought that she has alienated and probably lost him, she wanders through the city streets looking for her lost lover and, in the process, suffers shame and embarrassment. Finally, the lovers are reunited and are joined by their sincere love.

Shir Ha'shirim is one of the five megillot (scrolls of canonical works) from the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Bible. On the Shabbat of Chol Ha'moed* Passover, it is customary for Shir Ha'shirim to be read in the synagogue.

Shir Ha'shirim was chosen as the Passover reading because the story of the Exodus demonstrates God’s patience with His beloved--the Jewish people, as represented by the maiden. Despite having witnessed the many miracles that God performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, the Jews strayed from their commitment to God. Eventually, God withdrew His favor from the Jews (Hester Panim), and they have since wandered the world trying to make amends for the damage caused to the relationship. The reunion of the lovers is a prophecy for the Messianic era, yet to be fulfilled.
*Passover is an 8 day holiday. The first two days and last two days are Yamim Tovim - days that are observed like Sabbath (except that one may cook on an existing flame, and carry in public areas). In Israel, Passover is only 7 days, and only the 1st and 7th day are Yamim Tovim. The in-between days are known as Chol Ha'moed - weekdays of the festival. If there is no Shabbat Chol Ha'moed, Shir Ha'shirim is read on the 7th day of Passover.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

No Challah

Make certain to have two whole (complete) matzahs for the Ha'motz'ee blessing for each of your Shabbat meals.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chag Ha'matzot

The name of the holiday “Passover,” is an allusion to God’s passing over the Israelite households during the plague of the firstborn, a critical element in the events of the Exodus. The name "Passover," however, may be derived from an English convolution of the Hebrew Pesach, the Torah’s term for the Pascal lamb sacrificed on the holiday.

The Torah refers to Chag Ha’pesach, the Holiday of the Pascal Lamb, only as the actual seder feast. In almost all other cases,* the Torah refers to this springtime holiday as Chag Ha’matzot, the Holiday of the Unleavened Bread: "The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread" (Exodus 34:18).

In honor of Chag Ha’matzot, Jewish Treats presents a little bit of information on matzah:

To guarantee that matzah is Kosher for Passover, no more than 18 minutes may pass from the moment the water and flour come in contact with each other, until it is removed, fully baked, from the oven. The entire working area (and the workers’ hands) is scrubbed between each 18 minute process.

Special Matzot
Many Jews will only eat shmura matzah (especially during the Seder). Literally "guarded matzah," shmura matzah has been carefully supervised from the time the wheat was cut until it was baked so that it remained perfectly dry until being deliberately mixed with water (lest it become chametz). This practice is based on the verse in Exodus 12:17, "And you shall guard the matzot..."

Egg matzah is "enriched matzah." Since it is more extravagant, it fails to fulfill the requirement of "lechem oh’nee," bread of affliction (poverty). According to Jewish law, egg matzah may only be eaten on Passover by someone who is physically infirm, very young or very old, and has difficulty digesting regular matzah.

Depending on how they are prepared, flavored matzot (such as garlic and onion or grape) may or may not be Kosher for Passover. Please check the box for proper Kosher for Passover supervision.

*It is also referred to as Chag Ha’aviv, the Holiday of the Spring.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.
Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Healty Choices

Passover is a great time to increase the vegetables in your diet.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Can You Count to 49

There is a commandment (Leviticus 23:15) to count the 49 days that immediately follow the first night of Passover and, on the 50th night, to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. This period of time is called Sefirat Ha'omer, the Counting of the Omer, because the counting begins on the night before the barley offering (omer) was brought to the Temple, which was on the second day of Passover.

The connection between Passover and Shavuot: The departure of the Jews from Egypt was only the beginning of the redemption. The Exodus actually culminated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is commemorated by the holiday of Shavuot. This connection is clearly marked by Sefirat Ha'omer, the Counting of the Omer.

How to Count the Omer: Each night, starting with the night of the second Seder, a blessing is recited and the new day is counted. The blessing is as follows:

Baruch Ah'tah Ah'doh'nai, Eh'lo'hay'nu Melech Ha'olam, asher kideshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzeevanu al sefirat ha'omer.


Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Who sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us, regarding the Counting of the Omer.

The blessing is followed by the actual counting of the day. For example: "Today is day one of the Omer"...."Today is eight days, which are one week and one day of the Omer." The formal counting of the day is followed by a prayer for the restoration of the Temple: "May the Compassionate One return to us the service of the Temple to its place, speedily in our days. Amen, Selah!"

If a person misses the counting of a complete day, counting may be resumed on subsequent nights, however, the blessing is no longer recited.

This year, the Counting of the Omer begins on Tuesday night, April 11th.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.
Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Passover Story in Brief


On Passover, we commemorate the exodus from Egyptian slavery. The following is a brief summary:

Jacob's family came to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Joseph, Jacob's son and the Viceroy to Pharaoh, settled his family in the land of Goshen, apart from the Egyptians.

Joseph's contribution to Egyptian society was forgotten after his death, and the new Pharaoh, feeling threatened by the demographic success of the Israelites, enslaved them with cruel and bitter labor. 
According to the Midrash, Pharaoh was alerted to a prophecy that the Israelites would be led to freedom by a boy yet to be born, so he ordered all newborn Jewish boys cast into the Nile. Yocheved set her newborn son (Moses) adrift in the Nile in a basket to escape the decree, where he was found by Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him.

Years later, Moses came upon an Egyptian beating an Israelite. Outraged, Moses slew the Egyptian and then fled Egypt fearing that his action had been discovered. He took refuge in Midian with Jethro and married Jethro's daughter, Tziporah. While shepherding Jethro's sheep, Moses came upon a burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire and from which he heard God's voice instructing him to go back and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses, joined by his older brother Aaron, went to Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Israelites. Pharaoh repeatedly said no--nine times. Each time he said no, another plague (blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts and darkness) struck Egypt. Finally, God struck all the Egyptian first born dead. After this tenth and final plague, Pharaoh finally said "yes," and the Jews left Egypt, matzah in hand.
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Pharaoh changed his mind and chased the Israelites, who were eventually trapped between the Egyptian army and the Sea of Reeds. But the Sea miraculously split and they crossed safely while the Egyptians drowned in the returning waters. According to the Midrash, only Pharaoh survived.

The Israelites then continued their journey to Mount Sinai, where they received the Torah.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Calendar Count

Mark a calendar to help you keep track of counting the omer.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Biur - Burning

The night before the Passover seder, the home is thoroughly searched for any remaining chametz. The chametz found is then set aside to be burned in the morning. Biur Chametz, the destroying of the chametz, is the final step of pre-Passover preparations.

Why is the chametz burned? Burning is considered the ideal means of disposing of one’s chametz. The Mishna cites Rabbi Judah, who said, “There is no removal of chametz save by burning.” The sages, however, maintain, “He [a person may] also crumble and throw it to the wind or cast it into the sea” (Pesachim 21a).

On the morning before the seder, chametz may be eaten until the fourth halachic hour of the day.* Biur Chametz takes place before the end of the fifth halachic hour of the day.* In larger Jewish communities, there is frequently a designated location for Biur Chametz, often in conjunction with, and overseen by, the local fire department. 

All of the chametz thrown into the fire is burned so completely that even a dog would not eat it. While burning is the ideal way to destroy the chametz, if one is unable to do so due to timing or other limitations, one may pour a chemical disinfectant such as cleaning fluid on them so that the chametz become unfit to be consumed even by a dog. One may also flush the chametz down the toilet. 

After all of the chametz has been destroyed, a decree of renouncing ownership is recited, fulfilling the biblical mitzvah of ridding oneself of chametz: “Any chametz or leaven product that is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered null and ownerless as the dust of the earth.”

*The length of a halachic hour of the day is calculated by dividing the actual daylight hours from sunrise to sunset by 12.

NOTE: As with all Treats dealing with halacha (points of Jewish law), one should consult one's local rabbi for practical application.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Fast of the Firstborn

There has always been a lot of pressure on firstborn children, as they were often expected to care for the family property or business in order to ensure stability within the community. Even in modern society, the firstborn usually receives the most attention and the most responsibility.

For all those reasons (and more, we're sure), the final plague, the Death of the Firstborns, was the most devastating (even though people had died in, or as a result of, the other plagues). The Death of the Firstborns was also the only plague during which the Israelites needed to take an active role in order not to be affected (marking their doorposts with blood).

While Passover is a commemoration of the story of the Exodus, there is also a special Fast of the Firstborns, which is observed on the 14th of Nissan, the day before the first seder.* It is observed only by the firstborn. This includes minors--except that, halachically, minors (under the age of bar/bat mitzvah) are not supposed to fast. Therefore, it has become the accepted practice that the firstborn’s father fasts instead.

It is interesting to note that the Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 18:3) infers that Egyptian women/girls also died during the Death of the Firstborns, and therefore there are different opinions as to whether firstborn women/girls should fast as well (one should follow the custom of the community).

The Fast of the Firstborns begins at sunrise and ends at nightfall (with the start of the seder). It is customary, however, for those obligated to fast to attend a seudat mitzvah (the feast of a mitzvah) such as a brit milah (circumcision) or, most often, a siyyum (celebration of the completion of studying a section of Torah or Talmud), which cancels the fast.


*unless the fast coincides with Shabbat

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

First Safety

Pay attention to fire safety when you burn your chametz.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Search For Chametz

On Passover, Jews are commanded to get rid of all "chametz" (leaven) which may be in their possession. To confirm the effectiveness of these efforts, a special search for chametz, called Bedikat Chametz, is conducted on the night before the seder. (*When the first Seder is Saturday night, Bedikat Chametz is performed on the previous Thursday night.)

Bedikat Chametz begins shortly after nightfall. When one is ready to begin the search, a blessing is recited (see below), after which no talking is permitted with the exception of conversation pertaining to the search itself. The search is conducted by the light of a candle, in order to enable a thorough inspection of all the nooks and crannies (if the candle might cause danger, for instance when searching near draperies, one may use a flashlight). Among Ashkenazi Jews, it is also customary to use a feather to "sweep" any chametz crumbs into a paper bag.


Sometimes getting into the right frame of mind for the search may be difficult, especially if the house has already been thoroughly cleaned for Passover. In order to be in the right frame of mind and to make certain that the blessing over the search is not said in vain there is a custom, therefore, to have someone else carefully "hide" ten pieces of chametz (for instance 10 pieces of pretzel wrapped in foil) in the rooms which will be searched. The search will thus be more diligent, and will not conclude until all the rooms have been checked and the 10 pieces found.

When the search is over, one makes a general declaration stating that any unknown chametz is hereby declared ownerless. The chametz in the bag is set aside to be burned the following morning. One may, however, put aside chametz to eat for breakfast (and Shabbat meals when applicable), making sure to clean up any leftovers and to add them to the chametz bag afterwards.

Please note that there are many situations (for example, someone who is renting a room in a house that is not being cleaned for Passover), where it would be best to consult with a rabbi to determine how to proceed.


The Prayers of “Bedikat Chametz

Blessing before the search:
Ba’ruch ah’tah Ah’do’nai, Eh’lo’hay’nu melech ha’o’lam, ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu ahl Bee'oor chametz.

Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Who sanctifies us through His commandments and commanded us concerning the removal of chametz

Annulment of Ownership of Unknown Chametz (recited after the search is concluded):
Kol chameera va’chamee'ah, d’eeka veer’shootee, d’lah cha’zee’tay, ood’la vee’ar’tay, ood’lah y’dah’nah lay. lee’bah’tayl v’leh’heh’vay hef’ker k’aphra d’arah.

"Any chametz or leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen, have not removed and do not know about, should be annulled and become ownerless, like the dust of the earth."


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.
Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

The Great Shabbat

The Shabbat immediately preceding Passover is known as Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat. It is best known for being the Shabbat on which the rabbi of the community (or another leading scholar) gives a detailed sermon that is often a review of the laws of Passover. While it has been suggested that these sermons are the source of the title "HaGadol" (gadol means both great and large), there is an actual historical significance to this Shabbat.

In the year that the Israelites were redeemed from slavery, God commanded the Jewish people that on the 10th of Nissan, each Israelite household (or combination of households) must take a lamb to use for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:3). Choosing a lamb for a sacrifice might not seem like a big deal, but the Egyptians viewed sheep as holy animals. (Having lived among the Egyptians for so long, many Israelites had assumed the false belief that sheep have special spiritual significance.) By taking the sheep and preparing it for slaughter, the people displayed defiance of their Egyptian masters and rejected any religious significance for the sheep itself.

Shabbat HaGadol is marked in synagogue by the reading of a special haftarah from the book of Malachi (3:3-24). Some people connect the concluding line of this reading to the term Shabbat HaGadol: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great (hagadol) and awesome day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..." (3:23-24).


Passover is the holiday on which Jews celebrate redemption, and Elijah the prophet will be the harbinger of the final redemption, the coming of the Messiah. The ultimate redemption cannot come, however, until the Jewish people do teshuva (repent). Some scholars, such as the Chatam Sofer, have commented that this is the true meaning of Shabbat HaGadol - that when the Israelites began their preparations for the exodus by taking a lamb into their house, they were doing teshuva for having followed the ways of their Egyptian neighbors.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Your Search

Schedule time on Sunday night (after dark) to fulfill the mitzvah of searching for chametz.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Time of Freedom?

The sages refer to the holiday of Passover as Zman Chay’roo’tay’noo, the time of our freedom. This may seem obvious, since Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. But did you know that on several occasions the Israelites demanded to return to Egypt, back to slavery?

Indeed, when they felt trapped at the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea), the Israelites cried out that it would have been better to have stayed in Egypt. While one might justify their actions by stating that they were certain that they faced imminent death, it is important to remember that these were the very same people who had witnessed the miracles of the ten plagues.

Some commentators explain that what the people truly feared, both at the Sea of Reeds and in the Wilderness, was not death, but freedom! Suddenly they were responsible for their own decisions and their own actions.

So what is the “freedom” that we celebrate on Passover?

In Ethics of The Fathers (6:2), Rabbi Joshua ben Levi says: "... And it says (Exodus 32:16): ‘And the tablets are the work of God, and the writing is God's writing, engraved on the tablets.’ Don't read the text as 'chah’rut' (engraved) but rather as 'chay’root' (liberty)--for there is no free individual, except for one who occupies himself with the study of Torah...”

How can Torah learning be equated to freedom--after all, don’t we speak of the “yoke” of Torah and describe Torah as a “burden”?

One certainly might view the mitzvot as restrictive, unless it is understood that without structure and order in the world, without rules and boundaries, there is anarchy and chaos. Only by living by the guidelines of the universe (the Torah), which God gave the Israelites when He gave them the Torah, can one attain true freedom.

Setting the Seder Table

Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following:

1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for Passover) -- Many have the custom to use shmura (specially supervised) matzah for the Seders.

2) Wine/Grape Juice (Kosher for Passover) and Wine Glasses -- All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required four cups of Wine/Grape Juice.

3) The Seder Plate -- It is traditional to place the following items on a special Seder plate:

--Bay'tza / Roasted (hard-boiled) Egg, symbolic of the cycle of life because of its round shape and representative of the Jewish character - the more you boil them, the harder they get. The egg also represents the missing chagiga sacrifice that was offered on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.

--Z'roa / Shank Bone (of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl), representing the Passover lamb offering that we cannot bring today because of the absence of the Temple.

--Maror / Bitter Herbs (often horseradish), reminding participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery.

--Karpas / Vegetable (usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato), which is dipped in salt water as part of the Seder ritual.

--Charoset, a tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples, representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh's cities (recipes may vary by community).

--Chazeret / Bitter Vegetable (like romaine lettuce), which starts out sweet but becomes more bitter the longer it stays in the ground.

4) Salt Water -- The karpas (vegetable) is dipped in salt water as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves. Usually, the salt water is not placed on the Seder Plate, but near it.

5) Elijah's Cup -- This cup, filled with wine, is used to invite Elijah the Prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, to come to the Seder, and hopefully, begin our final redemption.


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.





Contemplating Freedom

Begin thinking about what freedom means to you and share your thoughts at the seder.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Four Cups of Wine

Like almost all festival meals, the Passover Seder begins with Kiddush, the sanctification of the day. On Passover, however, the first cup of wine is followed by three more mandatory cups. The requirement of four cups of wine at the Seder is derived from the four stages through which God promised to redeem the Jews from the Egyptian slavery (Exodus 6:6-7): “Therefore say to the Children of Israel: ‘I am God and 1) I will take you out (v’ho’tzay’tee) from beneath the burdens of Egypt, and 2) I will save you (v’hee’tzal’tee) from their servitude, and 3) I will redeem you (v’ga’ahl’tee) with an outstretched arm and great judgments, and 4) I will take you (v’la’kach’tee) for Me for a people...’”

While the four cups of wine remind us of the four phrases of redemption, each of the four cups has an independent function at the Seder:

The First Cup is designated for Kiddush.

The Second Cup is consumed after the section of the Hagaddah known as Maggid, in which we tell the story of the Exodus, as a way of praising God. The blessing on wine is made a second time, because significant time has passed since the first cup was blessed.

The Third Cup is blessed after Birkat Hamazon, the Grace After Meals. It is customary that after reciting Birkat Hamazon as a group, a single cup of wine or grape juice is blessed, and consumed by the person who leads the prayer. At the seder, however, all present bless and drink their own cup of wine.

The Fourth Cup is consumed at the conclusion of Hallel, the section of Psalms praising God, and marks the conclusion of the food part of the seder.


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover. 

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Drama At The Seder

While the basic text of the Haggadah and format of the seder is the same around the world, each community has its own unique customs. One such custom that is pervasive throughout the Sephardi communities is to dramatize the Exodus. Generally this takes place immediately following Yachatz, the breaking of the middle matzah, or after Ha Lachma Anya, the first paragraph of the Maggid section.

The basic script for this dramatization is as follows:

Person holding the afikomen (larger half of the broken matzah) says: "Their remaining possessions tied up in their bags on their shoulders and the children of Israel did as Moses commanded.”

Other Seder Participants: “From where are you coming?” 

Afikomen holder: “From Egypt.”

Participants: “Where are you going?”

Afikomen holder: “To Jerusalem.”

Participants: “What are your supplies?”

Afikomen holder: “Matzah and Maror.”

This ceremony varies not only as to when it is said, but also who says it (sometimes only the leader, sometimes one child gets up and knocks on the door before the dialogue begins, and sometimes each participant of the Seder holds the afikomen in turn), and how the afikomen is wrapped and held (in a napkin or a bag, held on the right shoulder or thrown over the shoulder).

In the Yemenite community, there is a slightly different re-enacting of the Exodus. The seder leader rises, throws the afikomen bag over his shoulder like a knapsack and circles the table while leaning on a cane. As he walks about the room, the leader tells the other participants about his experiences and the miracles he witnessed as he came from Egypt.  
This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Nice Shine

Polish any silver cups that you plan on using at the seder.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kitniyot and Gebruchts

Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Hungarian, Yekke (German), Lithuanian?

At no other time on the Jewish calendar is it so important to know your ancestry as it is on Passover. What one does or does not eat on Passover (beyond obvious chametz) is strongly dictated by ancestral customs.* Here’s how it matters:

Kitniyot (Legumes) - During the holiday of Passover, Ashkenazim follow a rabbinic decree not to eat foods containing kitniyot, such as rice, corn, soy beans, string beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. This rule was established because these products are often stored together with chametz grains, making it difficult to ensure that there is no chametz mixed with the products. Also, when kitniyot are ground into flour, the untrained eye could mistakenly think that this it is real flour, giving the impression that such flour is permitted on Passover. The decree only prohibits the eating; products containing kitniyot do not need to be sold with the chametz.

The Rabbinic injunction of not eating kitniyot was not accepted in most Sephardi communities. However, while Sephardim may eat rice, beans, etc., the food must be thoroughly checked to make certain that it is not mixed with chametz.

Gebrouchts (Wet Matzah) - Another custom followed by Ashkenazi Jews from certain regions is not eating gebrouchts. Gebrouchts, which are foods prepared with matzah or matzah meal and mixed in liquid, are avoided out of a concern that additional fermentation may occur when the matzah and liquid are combined. Those who are stringent not to eat gebrouchts will therefore not eat matzah balls, matzah brie, matzah lasagna, etc. Those who refrain from gebrouchts will eat them on the eighth day, since this is an extra day observed only outside of Israel.

This custom was broadly accepted in many Chassidic communities (Hungary, Galicia, Romania). In those communities where mitnagdim (non-Chassidic) were dominant (Lithuania, Germany), it was almost considered a mitzvah to eat gebrouchts food in order to make the point that it was permissible.
*Traditionally, one follows the customs of the paternal line. For example, if a Russian woman marries a German man, she follows his “Yekke” customs, as do the children. Those who cannot trace back their lineage to know their family customs should consult their rabbi.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.



Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

One Goat...and a Host of Other Things

Most American children know the play song There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. It’s a fun song that has a building pattern that helps develop children’s memory skills. There was an Old Lady was written by Alan Mills and Rose Bonne around 1950. While there is almost no biographical information on Rose Bonne, Alan Mills (born Alan Miller) was a well-known Jewish-Canadian folksinger, writer, and actor.

Knowing that one of the composers of this song was Jewish strengthens the case for the connection many note to the classic seder song, Chad Gad'ya (One Little Goat). The structure of both songs moves from a small or powerless creature to a larger or more powerful creature/being. Just as the final verse of There was an Old Lady, is a cumulation of all of the other verses, Jewish Treats presents only the final verse of Chad Gad'ya:

 “One little goat. One little goat. That father bought for two zuzim. One little goat. One little goat.

And came The Holy One Blessed be He, and killed the angel of death, that killed the slaughterer, that killed the ox, that drank the water, that doused the fire, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that father bought for two zuzim. One little goat. One little goat.”

The first known inclusion of Chad Gad'ya in the actual Haggadah can be traced back to 1590, in Prague. Upon a close reading of the text, one might actually call it macabre. If nothing else, it is heavily laden with symbolism. One common understanding is that the little goat represents the Children of Israel, the father is God (who bought the little goat for two coins - two tablets of law) and the rest of the animals represent Israel’s historic enemies:
Cat - Assyria
Dog - Babylon
Stick - Persia
Fire - Macedonia
Water - Rome
Ox - Saracens
Slaughterer - Crusaders
Angel of Death - Ottomans

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.
Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Happy Heritage

If you don't know your family's origin and customs, try to track down an older relative and ask them.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Development of the Haggadah

On Passover night we are commanded "v'hee'ga'd'ta" and you shall tell, the story of the Exodus. (Notice the shared root of hee'ga'd'ta and Haggadah.) The Passover Haggadah serves as a step-by-step guidebook for telling the story of Passover.

Before the destruction of the Holy Temple, most Jews traveled to Jerusalem to offer the Pascal lamb. Because the entire lamb had to be eaten, it was the common practice for several families to purchase a lamb and partake of the festive meal together while retelling the Exodus story, discussing the Midrashim (legendary commentary on the Torah) describing the Exodus, and reciting the ten plagues. These early seders also incorporated the
other basic mitzvot of the seder: eating matzah and maror (bitter herbs) and drinking four cups of wine.

After the Second Temple was destroyed (70 C.E.) and the Jews dispersed, the oral law was written down (Mishna and Talmud) in order not to be lost to future generations. Among that which was written down was the basic outline of the Passover Haggadah, including the order of questions and discussion (Mah Nishtana - the Four Questions).The oldest existing Haggadah that we have today is from 8th or 9th century Palestine. While there have been modifications and additions over time (as people have added prayers of devotion and songs of praise), the basic form of the Haggadah has not changed. With the advent of the printing press in the Middle Ages, the Haggadah text was set, based on the prayer book of Rav Amram Gaon, who headed the Babylonian Yeshiva of Sura between 856-876 C.E. While certain parts of the Haggadah, such as Chad Gad'ya ("One Kid"), were not added until much later, the basic text of the Haggadah has remained the same to this day.


This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Paschal Lamb - A Unique Commandment

While most Jews have attended a Passover seder, no Jew in the last 1,900 plus years has tasted a Paschal lamb ("Korban Pesach"), the animal offering associated with Passover that shares the holiday's name. The Paschal sacrifice was offered on the day before Passover and was eaten that evening at the seder - but only when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem. And while no Jew today can offer and eat the Paschal lamb, it is interesting to note that in Temple times, a Jew who deliberately avoided partaking of the lamb was viewed as having denied an essential connection to the heart of Judaism.

One of the most unique aspects of the Paschal sacrifice is the prohibition against breaking any bones of the animal during its roasting or eating.

The anonymous author of Sefer Ha'chinuch suggests that the reason for this negative commandment is a lesson on the effects of manners. A person is supposed to eat food with dignity. As breaking and eating bones is the way a dog eats, humans are reminded to rise significantly above that level.

On a deeper level, however, Sefer Ha'chinuch stresses how all actions contribute to a person's character. One who regularly does good deeds will become a good person; conversely, one who allows himself to participate in dishonest actions, will eventually be overtaken by dishonesty. It may begin with how we eat, but it translates into how we live. Our actions, even the breaking of bones, mold us and define us.
This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Choose Your Own

Before seder night, choose a haggadah that you find both easy to follow and meaningful in its extra information/commentaries.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

You Are Royalty

Passover is known as the festival of freedom. And who is more free than royalty? At the Seder, all Jews are supposed to consider themselves royalty. Some of the ways we demonstrate this are: 

LEANING - As a sign of royalty, the Sages taught that one must lean to one’s left while drinking the wine and eating the matzah. In the time of the Mishnah, it was customary for royalty to eat in a lounging position. (Think of pictures of Roman nobles eating.) In many Jewish homes, people cover the pillows upon which they lean, with fancy, decorated pillowcases. In fact, decorating Passover pillowcases is a great way to involve the children in preparations for the holiday.

 RED WINE - While wine connoisseurs around the world may argue over white versus red, sweet versus dry, etc., Jewish tradition strongly recommends that the wine at the Seder be red. Why red? In ancient times, wine merchants sometimes watered down the white wines, making it cheaper both in price and quality. Thus, since we Jews live as royalty for this evening, red wine is recommended. Additionally, red wine reminds us of the blood of the Jewish people slaughtered by Pharaoh. (However, if you strongly prefer white wine, by all means, drink it.)

 POURING THE WINE - Would a king or queen pour their own wine? Not likely. It is therefore customary at the seder that one does not pour his/her own wine. However, since the wine cups must be refilled, and most of us do not have a wait staff at the seder, it is customary that each person fill the glass of the person next to him/her at the table.

This Treat is reposted in honor of Passover.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved

Winning Wines

If you enjoy wine, invest in a nice, light, kosher wine for the seders.