Sunday, April 30, 2006

For want of an Israeli Flag and a Plane Ticket and a Job

For many days now, I have noticed the increasing presence of patriotic flags being displayed from almost every car and balcony. The days leading up to Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence day are very different than those leading up to the 4th of July, America’s. I feel that on the whole, Israelis are more patriotic than Americans. Regardless on how they feel on issues such as Disengagement, people are more supportive of their government here than the majority of Americans (at least according to current approval ratings in both countries). I don’t need to extol the praises of a parliamentary democracy within a multi-party system again; I believe I have already done it justice in my Election entries. But this leads to more people feeling that their government represents them. Meanwhile, Democrats feel they have no peer in the US Government. Stoners, however it seems, will never have representation in Knesset as Alei Yarok always seems to miss the threshold, though they will in Mexico now that drugs are legal there. This is going to hurt the war on drugs though it will certainly cause more college and high school students to spring break in Cancun and Oaxaca.

Meanwhile, I cannot seem to find my plane ticket. If I cannot find it, a paper ticket, It will necessitate a trip to Tel Aviv and $100 for a replacement, just so I can also change my flight to next week so I can come back to New York for Graduation. However, I am still looking for a job for next year (and for summer for that matter). Why is this so hard? Anyone have any ideas? I need a job or something that would be considered "real world experience".

Actually, if any of my Jerusalem friends who I couch-surfed with (and there are a good number) know of the location of an American Airlines envelope with tickets in it, please let me know...


Thursday, April 27, 2006

DVAR TORAH: Tazria-Metzora/Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Iyar

"If your friend calls you an ass, put a saddle on your back... bend over like a duck but always keep your eyes facing skyward" - Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Baba Kama 92b (something we studied in Gemara today.)

Check out this article. It's just like the dissertation I wanted to write for my eventual (God-willing) doctorate: JEEEEEEEEEEEWS INNNNNNN SPAAAAAAACE!!!

Also Chodesh Tov to all and welcome to the only month named after a place, a popular telivison drama, and two letters of the english alphabet: ER... I mean, Iyar.

Onto the Dvar Torah!

Alright, so the thing that piqued my interest in these parshiot, which are chock-filled with laws of purity and more often, impurity, is the law of spreading of tzaras. Someone who has completely normal skin is not considered to have tzaras (I don't want to call it leprosy because it is not actually leprosy, nor do I want to give it any other name because tzaraas/tzaraat can't be easily translated). Suddenly the white on your skin makes you impure and you have to be ejected from camp for a week (while hollering at all who pass, "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!"). If it had gone away after that week, then the metzora is free to return to society. If it had remained or spread at all, they relock him in and leave him for another week. If however the metzora turns completely white, from head to toe, without any healthy skin whatsoever, he is declared clean and reenters society, but if any healthy skin grows thereafter, he is reinterned outside of the camp. This is fascinating and I feel that this paralels something we learn from a midrash, which I am too lazy to try and track down now. The messiah will supposedly come in either a time of perfection or a time of complete chaos. The end of the world could be a time of everlasting world peace catyclismic war on Har Megido. So too, one is declared clean on one of two conditions: either they are completely healthy or completely infected. Only complete good or complete evil will bring the messiah... supposedly.

Another note is that in the purification process for purifying a person, a house, or clothing, involves, besides having to shave off ALL hair (including eyebrows, which must look completely bizarre), taking cedar and hyssop. The cedar is the tallest tree and the hyssop (probably more known by its arabic name, za'atar) is the lowliest shrub. הקטנים עם הגדלים, as we see in Psalm 115, one of the psalms (actually split into two sections) we read for Hallel today. The big with the small. Together the great and the meek perform God's will, and likewise the rich person brings a bull or goat and a pauper will bring turtledoves, doves and the completly impovershed will bring matzah, and God will accept all of them each the same, הקטנים עם הגדלים. Beautiful.

You can read more about these parashiot in the Illustrated Guide to Tzaras which can be found in the Beit Midrash of the Columbia Barnard Hillel, unless Elena, Jaymie and Simone have completely destroyed it along with the Illustrated Guide to Olah Sacrifice, Illustrated Guide to Yom Kippur Avodah, and Illustrated Guide to Mincha Offering. If you cannot find the book, pester them, they probably have it hidden somewhere.

Chodesh Tov and then Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yom Hashoah in Jerusalem, Continued

I had one of the most emotional experiences this morning between 10:00 and 10:02 Jerusalem Summer Time this morning. I was walking on Moshe Ben Maimon St. toward King George V St. next to the Prime Minister's House when I heard it. At ten in the morning all of air-raid sirens in the country went off for a period of two minutes. At the point that it began all cars stopped and motorists exited the cars as they joined the pedestrians, the construction worker that was operating the buzz-saw, the police officer directing traffic, in observing two minutes of silence in memory of the six million. It was so very emotional for me, and I broke into tears. Here I was, about five minutes away from the holiest site in the world, as a free person (who was going to have his visa extended) and I thought about the hundreds of cousins who I would never have the possibilty of meeting because forces of evil took them away from me. There was so much more flooding through my head as the tears flooded out and I cannot begin to describe what I was feeling. As quickly as it started, it ended and people began to move from their place and cars started up again as normal as if nothing had happened, but I didn't pass a dry eye for a couple of minutes. To quote a paytan of selichot: kol lvav davai, vchol rosh lachali. A week from now the sirens will come back for remembering those who gave their lives for the state of Israel and I will tell the story of another side of my family. (stay tuned)

I have been listening to the radio in my primitive world of no TV (and finally found Reshet Bet and Kol Yisrael (as in on the hour "BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, al kol yisrael, haboker hazeh")) and the entire radio, excepting, I'm assuming because I don't speak Arabic, the Arab stations, is converted to songs of mourning, songs of the holocaust, and talk with survivors. I heard a hebrew version of Zog Nit Keinmol, the partisans song, which I will post here in transliterated Yiddish and in Hebrew and in English

Zog niht keynmol az du gayst dem letzten veg,
Ven himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg :
Vayl kumen vet noch undzer oysgebenkte shuh,
Es vet a poyk tun undzer trot : mir zaynen do !

Es vet di morgenzun bagilden undz dem haynt,
Un der nechten vet farshvinden mitn faynt :
Nor oyb farzamen vet di zun in dem kayor,
Vi a parol zol geyn dos leed fun door tzu door.

Geshriben iz dos leed mit blut und nit mit bly,
S'iz nit keyn leedl fun a foygel oyf der fry :
Dos hut a folk tzvishen falendike vent,
Dos leed gezungen mit naganes in di hent.

Fun grinem palmenland biz land fun vaysen shney,
Mir kumen un mit undzer payn, mit undzer vey :
Un voo gefalen iz a shpritz fun undzer blut,
Shpritzen vet dort undzer gvure, undzer mut.

Zog niht keynmol az du gayst dem letzten veg,
Ven himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg :
Kumen vet noch undzer oysgebenkte shuh,
Es vet a poyk tun undzer trot : mir zaynen do

שיר הפרטיזנים

ביצוע : שמעון ישראלי
מילים : הירש גליק
לחן : לא ידוע
גירסה עברית : אברהם שלונסקי

אל נא תאמר הנה דרכי האחרונה
את אור היום הסתירו שמי העננה
זה יום נכספנו לו עוד יעל ויבוא
ומצעדינו עוד ירעים אנחנו פה

מארץ התמר עד ירכתי כפורים
אנחנו פה במכאובות ויסורים
ובאשר טיפת דמנו שם נגרה
הלאינוב עוד עוז רוחנו בגבורה

עמוד השחר על יומנו אור יהל
עם הצורר יחלוף תמולנו כמו צל
אך אם חלילה יאחר לבוא האור
כמו סיסמא יהא השיר מדור לדור

בכתב הדם והעופרת הוא נכתב
הוא לא שירת ציפור הדרור והמרחב
כי בין קירות נופלים שרוהו כל העם
יחדיו שרוהו ונגאנים בידם

Never say that you are going on your last way
Though leaden clouds may be concealing skies of blue -
Because the hour we have hungered for is near;
And our marching steps will thunder: We are here!
Because the hour we have hungered for is near;
And our marching steps will thunder: We are here!

From lands of palm-trees to the far-off lands of snow
We shall be coming with our torment and our woes,
And everywhere our blood has sunk into earth
Blossom shall our bravery, and hope from it!
And everywhere our blood has sunk into earth
Blossom shall our bravery, and hope from it!

We'll have the morning sun to set our day a glow,
And all our yesterdays shall vanish with the foes,
And if the time is long before the sun appears,
Then let this song go like a signal through the years.
And if the time is long before the sun appears,
Then let this song go like a signal through the years.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead;
It's not a song of the little birds out in the free,
It was our people, among toppling barricades,
That sang this song and fought courageous till the end.
It was our people, among toppling barricades,
That sang this song and fought courageous till the end.

So, never say that you are going on your last way
Though leaden clouds may be concealing skies of blue -
Because the hour we have hungered for is near;
And our marching steps will thunder: We are here!
Because the hour we have hungered for is near;
And our marching steps will thunder: We are here!

real yiddish can be found at this website along with samples of the song

I also want to present another powerful song by an unlikely source, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, (well, actually by Remedy who is an extension of the Wu-Tang Clan) called Never Again, which we played for our campers a few years ago. It too is very powerful and you need to hear it to see how powerful it is.

Intro: Announcer] new Hebrew: This is in the background of Remedy saying his Intro part:
"Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech ha'olam, boraih poree hagoffin..."
(which is Hebrew for: "This is a Blessing over the fruit of the vine, said before every meal; it's giving god thanks for giving us fruits to make wines with. Also the 'Chamotzi' the blessing for the grains of the earth, giving thanks for grains to make bread.")
[Intro: Remedy]
Feel this
To all those races, colors, and creeds, every man bleeds for the
Countless victims and all their families of
The murdered, tortured and slaved, raped, robbed and
ÖNever Again!
To the men, women, and children. Who
Died and struggled to live, never to be forgotten.

"Vroo binev en acem yub" (which is Hebrew for: "forever in pain")

new [Song in Middle: 'Hatikvah' (which is "Israel's National Anthem")

[Verse 1: Remedy]
Yo my own blood
Dragged through the mud
Perished in my heart still cherished and loved
Stripped of our pride, everything we lived for
Families cried
Thereís no where to run to, no where to hide
Tossed to the side
Access denied
6 million died for what?
Yo a man shot dead in his back
Helpless women and children on the constant attack
For no reason
Till the next season
And we still bleeding
Yo itís freezing
And men burn in hell, some for squeezing
No hope for a remedy, nothing to believe
Moving targets who walk with the star in their sleeve
Forever marked wit a number, tattooed to your body
Late night, eyes closed, clutched to my shotty
Having visions, flashes of death camps and prisons no provisions
Deceived by the devils decisions
Forced into a slave
Death before dishonor for those men who were brave
Shot and sent to their grave
Can't I awaken, itís too late
Everythingís been taken
Iím shaken, family, history, the making

[Chorus: Remedy]
Never again shall we march like sheep to the slaughter
Never again shall we sit and take orders
Stripped of our culture
Robbed of our name (never again)
Raped of our freedom and thrown into the flames (never again)
Forced from our families, taken from our homes
Moved from our God then burned of our bones
Never again, never again
Shall we march like sheep to the slaughter (never again)
Leave our sons and daughters
Stripped of our culture
Robbed of our name (never again)
Raped of our freedom and thrown into the flames (never again)
Forced from our families, taken from our homes
Moved from our God and everything we own
(never again)

[Verse 2: Remedy]
Some fled through the rumors of wars
But most left were dead, few escaped to the shores
With just 1 loaf of bread
Banished, hold in for questioning
And vanished
Never to be seen again
I canít express the pain
That was felt in the train
To Auschwitz, tears poured down like rain
Naked face to face
With the master race
Hatred blood of David
My heart belongs to God and stay sacred
Rabbiís and priests
Disabled individuals
The poor, the scholars all labeled common criminals
Mass extermination
Total annihilation
Shipped into the ghetto and prepared for liquidation
Tortured and starved
Innocent experiments
Stripped down and carved up or gassed to death
The last hour, I smelled the flowers
Flashbacks of family then sent to the showers
Powerless undressed
Women with babies clumped tight to their chest
Who wouldíve guessed dying
Another life lost
Count the cost
Another body gas burned and tossed in the holocaust (never again)

[Chorus: Remedy]
Never again shall we march like sheep to the slaughter
Never again leave our sons and daughter
Stripped of our culture
Robbed of our name (never again)
Raped of our freedom and thrown into the flames (never again)
Forced from our families, taken from our homes(never again)
Moved from own God and everything we owned
Never again, never again
Shall we march like sheep to the slaughter (never again)
Shall we sit and take orders
Stripped of our culture
Robbed of our name (never again)
Raped of our freedom and thrown into the flames (never again)
Forced from our families, taken from our homes (never again)
Moved from our God and burned of our bones
(never again) (never again)

[Outro: Remedy]
The final solution
Is now retribition
Remedy, Wu-Tang

[Announcer] new Hebrew: (This is a prayer called: 'Sh'me', and is the base prayer for the Jewish Religion):
"Sh'me yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad"
(which is Hebrew for: "Hear o Israel, the lord is our god, the lord is one")
Hebrew: "Baruch shame kevote ma-chluto leolum va'ed"
(which is Hebrew for: "Blessed is gods glorious kingdom, forever and ever")


[Gun Shot]
(lyrics from here)

May their memories be for a blessing and may they have comfort on/under the wings of the Shechinah.

Along with my previous blog, if you have any stories of family members in the Shoah which you wish to share, I would appreciate hearing them. We need to remember by speaking about them, lest we forget.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In Memoriam: The Six Million

Tonight, the 28th of the month of Nisan we commemorate the memory of the rigtheous and innocent souls that were snuffed out during Holocaust, as well as commemorate the heroes, the non-Jews that rescued us and our Jewish bretheren who rose up to fight injustice.

I want to tell a story about one family in the Holocaust, my family. My great-grandfather Max (Menachem ben Yaakov, alav hashalom), my father's father's father, was one of 22 children born to Yaakov and Tova Brandshaft Rutta in Warsaw, Poland. You read that correctly, twenty-two children! Yaakov and Tova owned a very successful bakery. Well, more accurately, Tova, the daughter of a famous rabbi in Warsaw (and from a long line of important rabbis) ran it along with the kids while Yaakov was at kollel (he was a professional learner). The great thing about this was that there was pure profit as they never had to hire employees. It was entirely a family business, one which continued through the generations and most of the people who are my generation's grandparents owned a family bakery (my zayde, alav hashalom, owned two, one for year round and one for Pesach). Anyway, I learned last week that there were 70 people that sat at Yaakov's seder table. I laughed at the irony. Yaakov, the patriarch of all Jews and who had only 12 sons went down to Egypt with 70 descendants, and the patriarch of my huge family had the same amount of people at his seder table discussing this very account. That must have been awkward.

Anyway, my branch of the family escaped from the balagan that was going on in poland and imigrated to America in 1924, when my Zayde z"l was 12 years old, around the same time that the progenetor of the branch of the family I met last week came to America. Most of the rest of the family was not so lucky. I unfortunately do not know so much about what happened. The accounts I found at Yad Vashem say that they were not heard from after the war and were last known in the Warsaw Ghetto. I don't want to speculate, but perhaps they were sent to the Camps or perhaps they were part of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I wish I knew more. I do know a fantastic story that I heard a few days ago of one of my relatives seeing a Nazi holding Jews at gunpoint near a window. My relative ran at him at full speed taking the Nazi and himself out the window to their deaths. This sounds a lot like the selfless act of Eliezer HaMacabee during the Hanukkah Story who placed his spear under the Greek-Assyrian general's elephant, taking out himself, the elephant, and the general in the process. I don't know if this is true, and I also heard it from another relative that he jumped from the window onto a Nazi about to fire on people.
Here are links to some of the Testimony Pages from Yad Vashem:
Wolf Rutta, Yitzhak Rutta, Esther Rutta, Nathan & Feiga Rutta, and from my zayde's mother's side, the Mardykses (also a very large family): Golda Mardyks, Enrique Mardyks, Fryda Mardyks, and so forth (I'm not totally sure which ones are related to me, actually from the Mardyks side, and there is a possibility I am also related to the Ruttas of Lodz)

We are reminded: Remember! Never forget! This was actually not the first context that I heard this phrase today. In Chumash today we studied about Amakek and what the ironic thing we must do to them, ie: destroy them. Many have used this against us, but realize that this today is a concept. Amalek is a symbol of injustice, a sword that knows no mercy, a people that know no greater power except killing. They slaughtered the innocent, the weak, the stragglers. Amalek are the Nazis. They don't recognize humanity or the sacredness of life.

I watched the movie Paper Clips tonight along with around 100 people at Pardes tonight, after spending a couple of hours learning at nightseder dedicated to the memory of the Six Million. This movie was very powerful, and was fascinating how a small town of 1,600 in rural Tenessee, with not a single Jew, could take it upon themselves to learn about the Holocaust, and collecting paperclips to see what a number like 6,000,000 could mean. It was a very powerful and well-done documentary and I applaud the students of Whitwell Middle School for learing about this and for building a memorial. I'm not talking about the cattlecar filled with 11 million paperclips (they at last count collected over 29 million), I'm talking about the yad vashem, the living memorial that they created within themselves by learning about this. Here we have young teenagers who had probably never even seen a Jew studying about diversity and intolerance with eyes and ears that have never been exposed to such horror. I highly recommend this movie (and am giving it a 10 on IMDB).

Tomorrow morning at 10 AM the sirens will blare throughout the country and Israel will stand still. People will get out of their cars and stop whatever they are doing to commemorate two minutes of silence. I will be on my way to the Interior Ministry to get a stamp on my passport so I don't get kicked out of the country and will not be in class for that moment of silence, instead will probably be on the streets of Jersualem standing at attention with every pedestrian and motorist doing the same. If you want to see more about how it is observed in Israel, please check out this wikipedia entry. Does this mean that Misrad HaPanim, a government agency, will be closed? I have an appointment, but I don't know if that means anything.

Remember and Never Forget. We must never forget, lest history repeat itself, and we must speak out against what is happening in Darfur. We cannot allow the Holocaust to happen again!

Remember, don't forget! Also, please learn about your connection to the Holocaust by going online to the database at Yad Vashem. Also learn about some of the heroic rescuers who saved Jews at the risk of their own lives, such as Varian Fry.

Yehi Zichronim Libracha vhi nafsham tzrurot bitzrur hachayim, bgan eden yhi menuchatam.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

ARTICLE: Cruise baby name puzzles Israelis

Cruise baby name puzzles Israelis

Cruise, Holmes
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in February.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Suri, the name chosen by Hollywood couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for their newborn daughter, is raising more than its share of interest in Israel.

It means "get out of here" in the local language, Hebrew.

News of the naming puzzled even those Israelis who thought they had seen it all after pop diva Madonna turned the ancient Jewish mystical tradition Kabbalah into a faith for the famous.

"I really don't know what they were thinking when they chose this name. It's a term that denotes expulsion, like 'Get out of here'," said Gideon Goldenberg, a linguistics professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "It's pretty blunt."

Yaron London, a cultural commentator for Israel's Channel 10 television, had this rhetorical question for Suri's proud parents: "Why didn't you just go back to your ancestors' language, and call the kid 'Scram Cruise'?"

A Cruise family spokesman said last week that Suri has its origins in ancient Hebrew, as a variant on Sarah, the biblical matriarch. But that pronunciation is all but unknown in Israel.

There are exceptions. Jerusalem journalist Surie Ackerman said her name was a formalized version of a nickname given by fellow ultra-Orthodox Jews in her native United States.

"It sounds strange to me that a non-Jewish, Scientology baby should be called Suri," Ackerman said, referring to the alternative church which counts Cruise among its devotees.

"But there are plenty of strange names in the world."

And there are plenty of alternative meanings for Suri.

It's also a Nubian tribe, the word for "rose" in Persian, "sun" in Sanskrit and a term for a form of Alpaca's wool.

Friday, April 21, 2006

DVAR TORAH: 8th (aka: Shmini)

Be sure and check out my previous Dvar Torah on Pesach, one of my favorite things I have ever written. But on to Parashat Shmini, a dvar torah I wrote while walking to the Shuq today and while having lunch at the Shipudim place next to it (mmm, levavot and keved...):

When I used to go to Junior Congregation at VBS, everybody knew that the guy who ran it, Neil's favorite parasha was Shmini because it gave him a chance to make laserbeam sound effects (a combination of whistling and humming; I would be happy to demonstrate on demand) to imitate the alien fire that consumed Nadav and Avihu, the two eldest sons of Aharon HaKohen.

This is one of my favorite parshiot as well because it breaks the lull as one of the few pieces in narrative buried in the entire book of Vayikra/Leviticus (to my JTS friends: 'cause P-Author is boring). It is thrilling and also one of those things in the Bible that leave out one piece of vital information that may be meant to lead us (as we cannot assume to comprehend the intentions of our Creator).

One of the lessons we are taught here is that a priest cannot drink on the job, leading some to believe that the sons of the High Priest were a bit fershikered, possibly due to the celebration of the end of Miluim, the seven day inauguration festival of the Tabernacle. This was the first day that the kohanim assumed their roles (as Moses acted as High Priest during the seven days), and they were raring to go. Much like me and my friends who used to sneak back into the choir loft in the darkened Main Sanctuary after friday night services and tried to figure out how to turn on the organ and then getting in trouble (not consumed by some divine fire, but it might as well have been).

We also learn the laws of mourning indirectly from this. Hashem tells Aaron and his two remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar, that it is forbidden for them to let their hair grow wild or wear torn clothing. We therefore assume that they are the exception for a probably extant practice for Jewish mourners to let one's hair grow wild and to tear one's clothing, and this is the practice to this day. Aaron and his two remaining sons are also told not to fetch their bodies, but rather Aaron's cousins are sent in to pull out their corpses. Thus Kohanim are not to defile themselves for the dead if they can avoid it. We derive that Kohanim are not supposed to go into Jewish cemetaries unless it is one of the seven immediate relatives to this day. My question is what the Torah's intention is regarding other Kohanim regarding mourning rites, such as not cutting hair and tearing clothing. Priests nowadays do perform these rites.

Finally, it seems that God killed Nadav and Avihu in such a manner to show their holiness, and yet Aaron is silent. The various ways people deal with death as seen in the Torah are very interesting. Abraham's mourning for his wife Sarah comes with a Masoretic wink, a small letter in the word "and he cried" to perhaps indicate that he only mourned slightly (Genesis 23:2-3). Ishmael and Isaac come together to bury their father Abraham (Genesis 25:9), and Jacob and Esau come together to bury their father Isaac (Genesis 35:29). It seems that enmity needs to be put off to bury one's relatives Jacob is mourned by the Egyptians for 70 days, and his embalming and mummification, an Egyptian but not a Jewish practice, took 40 (Genesis 50:3). Joseph mourned intensely for his father after they crossed the Jordan for seven days (Genesis 50:10). This seems to be the source for Shiva, the seven days of intensest mourning. Miriam, the first of the big three to die, died in Kadesh and was buried, and immediately afterwards the people complained about lack of water (Numbers 20:1-2). Aaron was mourned by the entire community for 30 days when they realized he was dead, (Numbers 20:26-29). Moses gets a eulogy and the Israelites mourn for him for 30 days, and then their mourning comes to an end and they get on with life (Deuteronomy 34).Mourning ranges from silence (by Aaron) to bewailing (for Aaron) and it is very interesting to notice the practices, whether one holds back tears or lets them flow. It is just important to remember that though they may be gone, we may not mourn forever. Joseph continued on with life after 7 days, and so must we. For Aaron and for Moses, two of our greatest leaders, we mourned for 30 days and then we lived life as normal. We must completely return to society after 7 days and must live our lives again after the greater mourning period has ended.

Shabbat Shalom,

Monday, April 17, 2006

DVAR TORAH: Pesach (My Halivni Paper)

This is a paper I said would change the world. I am a pedantic prat as it is my own paper. For the first time I am making it public. Sorta. Please don't steal it. I want to change the world in my name. Also bear with me and its length and tell me what you think.


בכל דוֹר ודוֹר

In EVERY Generation

Matt Rutta

mjr2004 AT

Development of Jewish Holidays

Rabbi David Weiss-Halivni

Final Paper

Spring 2005

Pesach is the holiday of eternity. More than any other holiday, it is a link to the past and a beacon to the present and future. It reassures us of the providence of the Lord. God has saved us from Egypt and he protects us this very day. On all other holidays we study that “long ago… yada yada yada… and that’s why we read this text today”, but Pesach is different. We were slaves 3,000 years ago and we are slaves today. We not only read: we reenact. The Passover Seder is possibly the most observed Jewish non-life cyclical event. The holiday is celebrated even by many of the most secular. People who don’t go to shul daily, on Shabbat, Festivals, or even the High Holidays will, for the most part, hold this annual event at the dining room table. The Passover Seder is the event which epitomizes the Jewish family and Jewish observance. It rings true today just as it did when we were slaves in the land of Egypt and God freed us with His Strong Hand and Outstretched Arm.

The Torah commands us multiple times to instruct our children[1] on the matters of Passover annually in the middle of Nisan. In many of our rituals, specifically the Kiddush of the Sabbath, Festivals, and even of Rosh Hashanah, "זכר ליציאת מצרים", that these should all act as reminders of the Exodus from Egypt, the event which is the quintessential moment that epitomizes Judaism. More specifically, we hold Seders annually, reenacting our Exodus from bondage and explaining everything ad nauseam. The Rabbis in the Haggadah expound at great detail. Examples include a handful of Rabbis who have expounded upon Passover minutiae until morning, their students interrupting them to tell them that it is time to say the morning Shema. However, we curtail our explanation in order to finish by midnight (or 1 AM Daylight Savings Time), as the middle of the night is when God killed the firstborn of Egypt[2]; if we didn’t have a fixed time to end it, we might go on forever, just as the Rabbis might have done had it not been for the intervention of their students. The Rabbis really pore over everything said in the Bible and in early rabbinic texts, even arguing over how many plagues struck Egypt in the land and at the sea (respectively there are opinions of forty or fifty in the land of Egypt and two-hundred or two-hundred-and-fifty at the Sea of Reeds). We drink four cups, we discuss four types of sons, we spill wine in memory of our oppressors, we open the door and openly condemn our other enemies and ask God to pour His Wrath out upon them while welcoming a prophet from 3,000 years ago who never died a mortal death to drink with us, and sing songs about numbers and cats that eat goats. It is quite apparent and obvious that the Passover Seder tradition is deeply rooted and quite varied and is immensely important.

We are commanded in the very heart of the Seder, "בכל דוֹר ודוֹר חייו אדם לראוֹת את עצמוֹ כאלוּ הוּא יצא ממצרים"In every generation, one is obligated to see himself as if he himself left Egypt.” We do this to some extent by holding a Seder in the tradition of our ancestors who literally left Egypt, according to tradition, 3,317 years ago (2,448 years after Creation). Are we really expected to consider our very selves as having been slaves to a ruthless king-god and his taskmasters for centuries and, having lived through ten awesome plagues visited upon our oppressors, left Egypt through God’s Strong Hand and Outstretched Arm? This is a ludicrous concept to be taken literally; for one, we are in Manhattan, not Goshen. The Maaseh Nisim (Rabbi Yaakov Lobeman of Lissa, Poland (died 1832) (Chofetz Chaim, 243)) says it is not just for the earlier phrase found in the Haggadah, that if God hadn’t liberated us, WE would be slaves today in Egypt[3]. He writes,

“The reason that the miracles of the Exodus are seen through this personal lens is that it is not the miracle of being liberated, in physical terms, from Egyptian bondage that is celebrated on Pesach, but the result of this liberation – God’s taking of the Jewish nation as his chosen people, giving them the Torah and the gift of Eretz Yisrael, which imbued them with permanent sanctity. Regarding this high level of sanctity, there is no difference at all between our ancestors and us. Thus it is only on Pesach that we are expected to identify with the miracles of the past on a personal level – because the state of holiness that was bestowed upon our ancestors at that time affects us in an equally strong manner today – if only we make ourselves aware of it” (Chofetz Chaim, 115-116).

This is a very powerful statement which equates us with our great ancestors, who, though sinned and went astray at times (and it would be hypocritical to say that we haven’t as well at times), had communion with God and witnessed supernatural miracles, the Hand of God. If our ancestors hadn’t left Egypt, we would not have the Torah, we would not have had the land of Israel and never would have had a Temple to atone for our sins, or Priests, or Kings, or something to hope for. We hope for the Messiah and for the Rebuilding of the Temple. If we were slaves we would ask for a more pressing deliverance: from bondage. It was our ancestors who cried out to God to deliver them from slavery. Even since then, our ancestors have cried out to God to deliver them out of the hand of evil. This also allows a deeper understanding of our connection to the popular song, Dayenu which precedes this section of text. If He had just brought us out of Egypt, but had not done all of these other great things for us, “it would have been enough”. God continually provides for us, even after he took us out of Egypt.

Although some of the words are exceedingly somber, we lift our glasses and joyously proclaim: “והיא שעמדה לאבתינוּ ולנוּ. “And this that has sustained our ancestors and us”. “שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינוּ לכלוֹתינו. “That it was not just one, (the Egyptians), who stood up against us to destroy us”. “אלא שבכל דוֹר ודוֹר עוֹמדים עלינוּ לכלוֹתינוּ. “Rather, it is in every single generation that people rise up to destroy us”. “והקדוֹש ברוּך הוּא מצילנוּ מידם. “And the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from their hands”. This is one of the most powerful and clairvoyant statements in the entire Haggadah. This statement was written well before the Crusades, the pogroms, and the Holocaust; it is written in Mishnaic and Tanaitic jargon, likely written sometime between 200 BCE and 200 CE, and yet it sees that one of the world’s oldest continual professions is Anti-Semite and will continue to be a popular profession. Indeed, it has almost certainly gotten worse since this was written. How could these rabbis predict that it would be correct that in every generation people will seek to destroy us? This was certainly indicative of a trend of hatred of Jews which unfortunately continues. And yet, we still survive as probably the oldest continual people on the face of the Earth. Our oppressors fall and we still endure due to the loving-kindness and providence of God to his Chosen People.

Speaking of the very first word of this paragraph, what is “והיא”, “and this”, which is spoken of? One theory which is offered is that of the gematria (Hebrew numerology) of each of the letters treated singularly evokes some significance. Vav equals six, the six orders of Mishnah and Talmud (Sha”s); Hey equals five, the five books of the Torah; Yud equals ten, the Ten Commandments, that which was revealed at Sinai, and Alef, the singularity of God. These four things, the Covenant which ties them all together, this has sustained our ancestors and us. והיא should rather be reckoned as an acronym: והי"א has supported us: serving and trusting in God and keeping his Laws has kept and sustained us[4]. Rabbi Menachem M. Kasher, in his pivotal work Haggada Shleyma, says that והיאis the Covenant of the Parts[5] (circumcision and the special animal sacrifices which surrounded the very first instance of such a surgery) which was made between God and Abraham[6], mentioned in the previous paragraph of the Haggadah. Rabbi Joseph Elias writes in his Haggadah, “He [Abraham] was told about the Egyptian exile and the deliverance[7] – but at the same time he was shown all later oppressive regimes under which the Jews would suffer (represented by the animals that were cut up) and the survival of the Jews (represented by the dove that was not divided)” (Elias, 98).

One of my Rabbis, Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA once talked about the breath sounds of four letters: Vav, Hey, Yud, and Alef, letters that without vowels could not be pronounced, except in the form of the sounds of a breath. Only these letters comprise the Name which Hashem revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush, “Ehyeh”, and the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter Proper Name of God which the High Priest would utter on the Day of Atonement and which we never pronounce). In each of these names only three of the letters appear. In the word והיא, all four letters appear. God has sustained us.

Ever since the time God put his rainbow into the sky, swearing he would never again destroy the world (Genesis 9:8-17), man has sought to destroy the Jews: Nimrod, the nine warring Canaanite kings in the time of Abraham, Pharaoh in the time of Avraham, Esau, Lavan, Pharaoh in the time of Moshe, Amalek, Balak, Bilam, Sihon, Og, the Caananite Kingdoms, the Philistines, Agag, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, Haman and Zeresh, Antiochus IV and the Greek-Asyrians, Titus and the Romans, the Holy Roman Empire, the Goths, the Crusaders, Torquemada and the Spanish, Chmelnitzky and the Cossacks, Hitler and the Nazis, and everyone in between; and even today there exists a very real danger to our brethren who have made Aliyah to Israel, every single one of them is a target.

Passover is the Festival of Freedom, and yet we are obligated to diminish our joy numerous times throughout the week of the holiday. We spill wine for the plagues God was forced to visit upon the Egyptians in Egypt and at Yam Suf, we abbreviate our Hallel prayer for the last 6 days as the Egyptians were obliterated in the Sea of Reeds and we mourn the steps which had to be taken to secure our freedom from bondage. Numerous times in the seder we admit that even today there are those who are afflicted and suffer, either through the bondage of slavery or of poverty. We begin the מגיד section by saying "השתא הכא, לשנה הבאה בארעא דישראל" “Now we are here, next year in the Land of Israel”; “השתא עבדי, לשנה הבאה בני חוֹרין”,now we are slaves, next year we will be free”. Rabbi Joseph Elias writes,

“There exists a different version in an ancient Haggadah manuscript: ‘yesterday we were slaves and today we are free, today we are here and next year in Eretz Yisrael.’ This version would seem to fit well with the view of Rashbam that this passage was recited by our forefathers in Egypt […]. Thus, our forefathers thanked God for the first stage of their redemption, the Exodus from slavery, and looked forward to the next stage, the entry into the Holy Land.

“Generally, however, it is thought that this part of the Haggadah was composed either after the destruction of the First Temple, or, more likely, after that of the Second” (Elias, 69).

Since the destruction, we have been under foreign oppression. There is no true freedom without the freedom of independent governance or the ability to freely worship. Our ancestors in the desert and in the Temple had everything they needed. We are still lacking the ability to freely worship in our Holy Temple today and so we therefore hope for our ultimate freedom, the Messianic Redemption and the Third Temple.

We are commanded on this night to eat Pesach, Matzah and Maror. We cannot eat the Pascal Lamb and still suffer because of the loss of our Holy Temple. The Matzah is the לחם עוֹני, the Bread of Affliction, the Bread of the Poor, which, throughout history, has been some of the only bread a pauper could afford, both in terms of time and money. We eat bitter herbs symbolizing our slavery, and yet we are seemingly free. We imbibe the tears of our people in the salt water, the mortar of the bricks they were forced to make through the whip of Pharaoh’s taskmasters in the חרוֹסת. The very first thing we eat to begin the festive meal is a salted hard-boiled or roasted egg; the food of a mourner during Shiva and that which we eat to inaugurate the fast of the saddest day of the year, Tisha B’Av. In a gloss by the Maharil in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, Hilchot Pesach), he points out that this connection of the two holidays is reflected in the fact that the Pesach Seder and Tisha B’Av fall on the very same night of the week[8]. These two days are probably the two most important dates for the Jews: the former is our finest hour, when we left Egypt in greatest glory; the latter is our darkest hour, when we were enslaved once again in multiple and seemingly endless exiles.

We remember the Pesach with a longing to be able to taste again the roasted meat of the lamb as our fathers did on the eve of the release from slavery. Just as we are saddened by no longer being able to witness the עבוֹדה of Yom Kippur or the שמחת בית השוֹאבה of Sukkot, both events referred to by Rabbinic tradition as times of great joy at the time but now “sadden the eye” to live without them, we also are deeply distraught over the inability to enjoy, with great gusto, the registered sacrificial lamb prescribed for Passover. The Omer that is called for the second day of Pesach and onwards leading to Shavuot seven weeks later brings nothing but sadness; not only are we unable to bring the new grain to the Beit HaMikdash, but our sages were destroyed by plague for not respecting one another; what was once a time of great joy is now a time of mourning.

It is highly remarkable that the Passover offering is the only offering that possesses a make-up date[9]. It is probably the only rite in Judaism that if you were טָמֵא, especially with טֻמאת המת , you had a second opportunity to perform, exactly one month later, on the fourteenth of the month of Iyar. Whether Israelite or Priest, today all of us are suspected of being defiled by human corpses. Without a red heifer to purify, and a Holy Temple in which to offer (since the Josianic Reforms (II Kings 23), which limited the offering and consumption of the Pascal offering to the environs of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount we are impure. Prior to the righteous King Josiah’s reforms, the Pesach was offered on any high place with an altar and a priest, but the King localized it), without these two elements it cannot be offered. As we reenact the original sandwich, that of the sage Hillel (who lived just prior to the Destruction of the Second Temple) at Korech, notably absent in the sandwich of Pesach, Matzah, and Maror, is the Pesach. Hillel was one of the last to enjoy the roasted lamb or goat in a sandwich of bitter herbs and unleavened bread, about 2,000 years ago. Even to this day we are wistful in particular for this specific sacrifice more than any other.

When narrating the Exodus from Egypt, the Torah remarks in Exodus 12:42, "ליל שמרים הוא לה' להוציאם מארץ מצרים הוא הלילה הזה לה' שמרים לכל בני ישראל לדרתם.", “That was for the Lord a night of protection to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is the Lord’s, one of protection for all the children of Israel throughout the ages”. This night was that of protection not only for the Jews in the Exodus from Egypt. The events of the three day Fast of Esther, which according to Midrash coincided with the 15th of Nisan[10] was a night of protection as was the beginning of the month-long heroic struggle and subsequent martyrdom of our brethren in the Warsaw Ghetto who rose up to fight their murderers, the Nazis, on the evening of the first Seder in 1943. To this day, we open our door at a point during the Seder, imploring God to pour out His wrath on those who deny his people and therefore also deny Him. On this night above all others God protects us. The Shulchan Aruch tells us that the prayers said upon going to sleep, שמע על המטה, a series of scriptural readings meant to protect against the demons that pose a threat at night, are abridged only once in the entire year: the first night of Pesach[11] as special providence of this very night protects us, as it has for almost three-and-a-half millennia. Further, if the first night of Pesach falls on Shabbat, we omit the Palestinian version of the Amidah (קוֹנה שמים וארץ) and the Seven-Faceted Blessing (מגן אבוֹת) said after the Silent Amidah at Maariv, because the prayer is designed for extra protection, something which already abounds on Pesach.

The final thing we do during the Seder is sing a popular and fun allegorical song (which everyone without exception loves to sing) intended to pique the interest of children who have been suffering through a Seder they can’t begin to understand, as well as adults who are honestly bored by the whole process. Chad Gadya, “a single goat” and the rest of the cast of characters, who eat, bite, burn, extinguish, and kill their predecessor, symbolize those nations which came against the Jews. Finally, the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from the renegade Angel of Death. This is a song which many today perform with various animal noises, hand movements, and puppets. As most Jews tend to be secular, it is the last thing most Jews will see of Judaism until the High Holidays six months later. It therefore leaves an indelible impression as the last thing they see and therefore a symbol of Judaism as a whole. They sing of God coming to their aid when all seems lost to this helpless goat. Many sing it in the vernacular (my family sometimes included) if they do not understand the Aramaic, utilizing the local language translation on the opposite side of the last page of the Haggadah. Needless to say, this is a very important and influential song. The Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, etcetera, have oppressed the Jewish people, but the Holy One, Blessed be He saves us in the end and redeems us. Hopefully these people derive from this song that God protects his people.

Passover is the only Major Festival which deals with our victory over oppression. The minor festivals, Hanukkah, Purim, and Yom Haatzmaut/Yom Yerushalayim, also deal with this, but those are outwardly effected by the hands of men, perhaps motivated by God, but only mentioning mighty human heroes such as Mordechai and Esther, Matthias the Hasmonean Priest and his sons the Maccabees, or the Armed Forces of the modern State of Israel, all of whom all beat overwhelming odds to their unlikely victories. However, God’s Miracles, His Mighty Hand and his Outstretched Arm are obviously orchestrating all the events of the Passover story, from the forced labor of the Jews, to the influence on hardening Pharaoh’s heart, to the awful and awesome plagues leveled on the Egyptians to the miracle at the Sea of Reeds. God publicly executes His Judgment onto Egypt. This is further proven by the fact that Moses, besides being mentioned only once and only in passing, is not a character in the Haggadah. We read in the Haggadah that God performed all of these miracles himself and brought us out of Egypt, and not an angel, seraph, or messenger[12]. It is interesting to note that the word for messenger is השליח, “THE messenger”, probably an allusion to Moses. Moses, who in Exodus 32:32 asks to be blotted out of God’s Book[13], is a likely candidate as he was God’s messenger to Pharaoh, the holder of the staff of the Lord, he who talked to God at the Burning Bush, to lead the Children of Israel out of bondage, and would learn directly and personally from God all of the laws and statutes of the Torah; it is very likely Moses who is The Messenger. The “blotting out” could mean death, it could be the reason Moses is not mentioned in Parashat Tetzaveh, or it could be the reason for his exclusion from the Haggadah. Whatever it is, the fact remains that the greatest human who has ever lived, the only human who has seen God פנים-אל-פנים, face-to-face, is not mentioned in the text of the Haggadah. As this quote translates, “I will pass over the land of Egypt this night, I and no angel, and will strike all the firstborn of Egypt, I and no seraph, and upon all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments, I and not the messenger. I am Hashem, it is I and no other!” God Himself fully intervenes and very clearly executes the events of this night.

The only part of the Torah which is mandated that all must hear annually is that of Zachor Amalek, the Rememberance of Amalek, read at the Sabbath prior to Purim. Amalek was the nation which was first to attack us after we had crossed Yam Suf. They attacked from behind; those in the back were women, children, the elderly, the infirm, and stragglers. Amalek fought a cowardly and unfair battle against the weakest members of the House of Israel. God and the Celestial Host, as well as the Children of Israel will be at war with Amalek for all generations forever[14], our Torah says. We are commanded doubly, both positively and negatively: remember! Don’t forget![15] Amalek seeks to destroy us in every generation. Haman son of Hamdata the Agagite was of the stock of Amalek, and according to modern tradition, Adolf Hitler was also a descendent from the children of Esau. Thus, even today we are dealing struggle against evil incarnate, the scion of Amalek, those alluded to in והיא שעמדה.

"בכל דוֹר ודוֹר חייו אדם לראוֹת את עצמוֹ כאלוּ הוּא יצא ממצרים". We have to look at ourselves as if we ourselves were rescued from Egypt. WE were rescued from Egypt. God’s miracles manifold themselves daily. We cannot begin to fathom the level that God rescues us from utter destruction. We also, to this day, mourn the stubbornness of a tyrant who died three-and-a-half millennia ago, and the ten plagues that decimated Egypt and the miracles at the Sea which drowned Pharaoh and his military host. For the former we still spill wine, the ultimate symbol of joy, and for the latter we truncate Hallel, the ultimate symbol of praising God. In a Midrash which occurred when the Children of Israel were crossing the Sea on dry land while the Egyptian chariots were drowning, the angels were forbidden to express their extreme joy and God prevented them from singing His praises through Hallel. “How can you sing My praises as I am drowning my children, the Egyptians?”[16] This rings true to today as we limit our joy and shorten our Hallel praises to God in memory of the destruction of the Egyptians on the last six days of the festival. If this is the way one remembers the downfall of one’s enemies, who oppressed and enslaved us for centuries, how much the more so do we mourn our own losses and celebrate our victories and holidays? We must eternally remember this moment. Our history is our present and is our future in addition to the past. The Rosh Hashannah Musaf has three special sections, each representing present, past, and future. The second section is the past tense, זיכרוֹנוֹת, Remembrances. The past is something to be remembered and recalled forever. God remembers us and we too must remember.

Passover has been a “family holiday” since its inception. When the Temple stood, families were required to register their Passover sacrifice. Even without the Korban today, we invite family and friends to our seders, in a throwback very similar to the registration of the offering in the Holy Temple. The Fifteenth of Nisan is undoubtedly the single date when Jewish families are most likely to come together (especially college students), if only once during the year. Truth be told, Passover pales in comparison to the importance of Yom Kippur or the Sabbath, yet there is some particular allure which makes the first night of Pesach the most observed part of the Jewish calendar. There are probably more people inviting Elijah to drink wine with them at the Seder table in the spring than there are absolving themselves of sin at the Synagogue in the autumn, at these opposite sides of the year. There was a survey released in 1993 conducted by the Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research which indicated interesting statistics about Jews in Israel specifically. The survey indicates that more Israeli Jews participate in a Passover Seder (78% always; 17% sometimes; 5% never), than fast on Yom Kippur (70% always; 11% sometimes; 19% never) or light Hanukkah Candles (71% always; 20% sometimes; 9% never) (Elazar, 2). This all stands as testament to the continuing significance of this holiday: Although we no longer have the Pascal offering, or a Temple in which to bring it, we still come together, eating Matzah and Maror, and retelling – nay – experiencing the Exodus from Egypt and the very first Seder year after year.

In addition to Passover being the most celebrated of all the days of the Jewish year, it seems that the text of the Passover Seder, the Haggadah is more produced and has more unique editions than the prayer book. In the Jewish Theological Seminary Library, which is host to the largest collection of Judaic texts in the Western Hemisphere, there is a larger collection of Haggadahs then there are of Siddurs, Talmud tractates, or even Hebrew Bibles. This can speak volumes (pardon the pun) about the magical captivation of Passover. It is also safe to postulate that more Jewish families own matzah crumb-filled and wine-stained Haggadot than dog-eared and bookmarked Bibles.

Passover is indeed the favorite of all holidays, the Festival of Our Freedom, in which we recline and lounge about as free people, and yet there is a rigidity, in both ritual and the holiday prohibitions. If one did not partake of the ארבע כוֹסוֹת (the four cups of wine), the כרפס, the מצה, and even the כורח, Hillel’s sandwich, in a reclining position he has not discharged his obligation. Conversely, if he has reclined whilst eating the מרוֹר, he must eat it again for he has not properly fulfilled the mitzvah. All this, steeped in ancient ritual serves to teach a greater lesson. Passover, as the holiday of celebrating our freedom, is not the be-all-end-all. There is no freedom without law, and we count up seven weeks from the second night to the holiday celebrating the Revelation of God’s Laws, Shavuot.

פסח מצה וּמרוֹר. Though we are free, we still must partake in the sorrow of so many generations through the Bitter Herbs. There has been pain and suffering, not just through our enslavement in Egypt, but in all generations. "בכל דוֹר ודוֹר חייו אדם לראוֹת את עצמוֹ כאלוּ הוּא יצא ממצרים". We may think that we are free, but all too recently things weren’t so good for the Jewish people. Things still aren’t perfect. However we must acknowledge God’s special providence which He shows His people. At the Covenant Between the Parts He promised to support us and He has supported us. Against all odds, the Jews have survived all of their oppressors. “גם זוּ לטוֹבה”: everything is for the best. "שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינוּ לכלוֹתינו ,אלא שבכל דוֹר ודוֹר עוֹמדים עלינוּ לכלוֹתינוּ." We still reap sour grapes and must therefore eat bitter herbs. Even in the best of times, living independently and in the existence of the Temple or in the forty years in thbh e desert with the Divine Presence of God visibly in our midst within the Clouds of Glory, we still ate the bitter herbs. If we ate them then, when we were at the peak of holiness and freedom, we certainly eat them now. We are not yet truly free. Passover is the Festival of Freedom. If only we could celebrate complete freedom. We still straighten our backs and imbibe bitter herbs. We still drink the tears of salt water, spill the wine of the Plagues, abridge the Hallel of the Sea, and omit the eating of the Pascal lamb. Passover is not celebrated to its fullest, and is marred by these details. Soon may we be able to eat the פסח along with the מצה and the מרוֹר! This is the Passover! We were slaves in the Land of Egypt; next year may we be free!

Works Cited

NOTE: This report is a scholarly report on many primary texts and a few secondary texts. The primary texts, which may include the Tanach, Mishna, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, and Mishna Berurah, the standardized Ashkenazic Passover Haggadah (which, although ever changing especially with modern interpretation, maintains its general shell in the generally accepted additions) as well as other codified and canonized Hebrew or Aramaic legal and legend (halachic and aggadic) material, are cited as coming from these universal texts, and are therefore only cited as coming from these general texts and not from a specific publisher. For example, a biblical verse may be cited as (שמוֹת יז:טז), and a gloss from the Shulchan Aruch I make every attempt to provide the author of the gloss (ie: מהרי"ל )as well as the fullest citation possible citation (ie: (שלחן ערוך אורח חיים סימן תעו מנהג אכילת צלי בליל פסח. סעיף ב'). I did, however, utilize electronic sources (copy and paste) for many of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts, using the programs interchangeably. These programs were:

"DavkaWriter 2000”. CD-ROM. Vers. 2.0.0. David Kantrowitz: Davka Coorporation and Judaica PressMultimedia, 1996-2000. (I used this mainly for Tanach and texts from the Mishnah)

“Judaica Classics Library”. CD-ROM. Vers. 2.2. David Kantrowitz: Institute for Computers in Jewish Life, Davka Coorporation, and/or Judaica Press, 1991-2001. (I used this for Talmud, Shulchan, Orech, and Mishnah Berurah)

Also unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. Some concepts are those which I have learned in the past (such as certain Midrashim) and do not recollect where exactly they came from. I also apologize for the formatting of some of the Hebrew text. The technology for formatting of right-to-left along with left-to right text is limited.

Chofetz Chaim, The. “Haggadah Berurah”. Edited. Rabbi Hanan Minkowich. Shaarei Meir Publications: Kiryat Telzstone, Israel, 2000. LOC: BM675 P4 A3 2000

Elazar, Daniel J. “How Religious are Israeli Jews?” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (article date not listed, Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research report published in 1993) . 2 May 2005.

Elias, Rabbi Joseph. “The Haggadah: Passover Haggadah / With Translation and a New Commentary based on Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources”. Mesorah: New York City, 1977. LOC: BM675 P4 A3 1977

הרב מנחם מ. כשר. "תוֹרה שלמה: הגדה שלמה". חמד: ירוּשלים, 1967 (Kasher, Rabbi Menachem M. “Torah Shleyma: Haggadah Shleyma”. Chamad: Jerusalem, 1967). LOC: BM675 P4 A3 1967e

The Dvar Torah about the breath sounds was given by my Rabbi, Rabbi Edward M. Feinstein at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino, California.

[1] למשל: "וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר בַּֽעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָֽיִם" (שמוֹת י"ג:ח')

[2] וַיְהִי | בַּֽחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַֽה' הִכָּה כָל־בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבְּכֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל־כִּסְאוֹ עַד בְּכוֹר הַשְּׁבִי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַבּוֹר וְכֹל בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָֽה: (שמוֹת יב:כט)

[3] "ואלוּ לא הוֹציא הקדוֹש ברוּך הוּא את אבוֹתינוּ ממצרים הרי אנוּ ובנינוּ ובני בנינוּ משעבדים היינוּ לפרעה במצרים" (הגדה (פסקה "עבדים היינוּ...").(

[4] “Another explanation suggests that והיא שעמדה, can be translated, ‘the Torah has stood by us’, והיא being an allusion to the Torah (the ו' refers to the six sections of the Oral Law; the ה', to the five books of the חוּמש; the י', to the ten commandments; and the א', to the One and Only Lawgiver). Therefore, God always saves us, even though many enemies threaten us” (Elias, 100).

[5] וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו קְחָה לִי עֶגְלָה מְשֻׁלֶּשֶׁת וְעֵז מְשֻׁלֶּשֶׁת וְאַיִל מְשֻׁלָּשׁ וְתֹר וְגוֹזָֽל: וַיִּֽקַּח־לוֹ אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה וַיְבַתֵּר אֹתָם בַּתָּוֶךְ וַיִּתֵּן אִישׁ־בִּתְרוֹ לִקְרַאת רֵעֵהוּ וְאֶת־הַצִּפֹּר לֹא בָתָֽר: וַיֵּרֶד הָעַיִט עַל־הַפְּגָרִים וַיַּשֵּׁב אֹתָם אַבְרָֽם:[...] וַיְהִי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בָּאָה וַֽעֲלָטָה הָיָה וְהִנֵּה תַנּוּר עָשָׁן וְלַפִּיד אֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָבַר בֵּין הַגְּזָרִים הָאֵֽלֶּה: בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כָּרַת ה' אֶת־אַבְרָם בְּרִית לֵאמֹר לְזַֽרְעֲךָ נָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת מִנְּהַר מִצְרַיִם עַד־הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר־פְּרָֽת: אֶת־הַקֵּינִי וְאֶת־הַקְּנִזִּי וְאֵת הַקַּדְמֹנִֽי: וְאֶת־הַֽחִתִּי וְאֶת־הַפְּרִזִּי וְאֶת־הָֽרְפָאִֽים: וְאֶת־הָֽאֱמֹרִי וְאֶת־הַֽכְּנַֽעֲנִי וְאֶת־הַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְאֶת־הַיְבוּסִֽי: (בראשׁית טו:ט-יא,יז-כא)

[6] והיא: אותה הבטחה של בין הבתרים ( הגדה שלמה: פירוּשים, עמוד ל"א, סימן 342)

[7] וַיְהִי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לָבוֹא וְתַרְדֵּמָה נָֽפְלָה עַל־אַבְרָם וְהִנֵּה אֵימָה חֲשֵׁכָה גְדֹלָה נֹפֶלֶת עָלָֽיו: וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי־גֵר | יִהְיֶה זַֽרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם וַֽעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָֽה: וְגַם אֶת־הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַֽעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַֽחֲרֵי־כֵן יֵֽצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדֽוֹל: טו וְאַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֶל־אֲבֹתֶיךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם תִּקָּבֵר בְּשֵׂיבָה טוֹבָֽה: וְדוֹר רְבִיעִי יָשׁוּבוּ הֵנָּה כִּי לֹֽא־שָׁלֵם עֲוֹן הָֽאֱמֹרִי עַד־הֵֽנָּה: (בראשית טו:יב-טז)

[8] הגה: נוהגים בקצת מקומות לאכול בסעודה ביצים זכר לאבלות ונראה לי הטעם משום שליל תשעה באב נקבע בליל פסח ועוד זכר לחורבן שהיו מקריבין קרבן פסח ויש נוהגין שלא לאכול שום טבול בלילה רק ב' טבולים שעושים בסדר )מהרי"ל ((שלחן ערוך אורח חיים סימן תעו מנהג אכילת צלי בליל פסח. סעיף ב')

[9] אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי־יִֽהְיֶה טָמֵא | לָנֶפֶשׁ אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ רְחֹקָה לָכֶם אוֹ לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם וְעָשָׂה פֶסַח לַֽה': בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם בֵּין הָֽעַרְבַּיִם יַֽעֲשׂוּ אֹתוֹ עַל־מַצּוֹת וּמְרֹרִים יֹֽאכְלֻֽהוּ (במדבר ט:י-יא)

[10] ותאמר אסתר להשיב אל מרדכי, אמרה לו לך כנוס את כל היהודים הנמצאים בשושן וצומו עלי ואל תאכלו ואל תשתו שלשת ימים אלו הן י"ג וי"ד וט"ו בניסן, שלח לה והרי בהם יום ראשון של פסח, אמרה לו זקן שבישראל למה הוא פסח, מיד שמע מרדכי והודה לדבריה הה"ד ויעבר מרדכי ויעש ככל אשר צותה עליו אסתר, תמן אמרין שהעביר יום טוב של פסח בתענית ועל אותה צרה (מדרש רבה אסתר פרשה ח סימן ז).

[11] ונוהגים שלא לקרות על מטתו רק פרשת שמע ולא שאר דברים שקורין בשאר לילות כדי להגן כי ליל שמורים הוא מן המזיקין: (שלחן ערוך אורח חיים סימן תפא שלא לשתות אחר ארבע כוסות. סעיף ב')

[12] ועברתי בארץ מצרים בלילה הזה - אני ולא מלאך. והכיתי כל בכוֹר בארץ מצרים - אני ולא שרף. ובכל אלהי מצרים אעשה שפטים - אני ולא השליח. אני ה' - אני הוּא, ולא אחר. (הגדה)

[13] וְעַתָּה אִם־תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם־אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִֽסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָֽבְתָּ: (שמוֹת לב:לב)

וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־יָד עַל־כֵּס י-הּ מִלְחָמָה לַֽה' בַּֽעֲמָלֵק מִדֹּר דֹּֽר: (שמוֹת יז:טז)[14]

[15] זָכוֹר אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵֽאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָֽיִם: אֲשֶׁר קָֽרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל־הַנֶּֽחֱשָׁלִים אַֽחֲרֶיךָ וְאַתָּה עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ וְלֹא יָרֵא אֱלֹקים: וְהָיָה בְּֽהָנִיחַֽ ה' אֱלֹקיךָ | לְךָ מִכָּל־אֹיְבֶיךָ מִסָּבִיב בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה'־אֱלֹקיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַֽחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ תִּמְחֶה אֶת־זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם לֹא תִּשְׁכָּֽח: (דברים כה:יז-יט)

[16] בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה, אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא: מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה? (תלמוּד בבלי: מגילה י עמוּד ב)