Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy Passover!

"Manishtana halaylah hazeh mikohl holaylot?"

Pesach. As Jews, we are always seeking to separate the holy from the mundane. Every day we eat a certain way, drink a certain way, and have a certain pattern to our every day life that we like to call a "routine". On Passover, the routine must be broken in the most clear and distinguishable of ways.

First, before Passover begins, we clean out our houses and cars of all leaven, or "Chumetz" traces. This requires an intensive, exhausting cleaning process that takes families long hours to accomplish.

As most everyone also knows, we eat matzos during Passover, which is a dry, unleavened, cracker-like food without much taste. Of course, most importantly, we also have Seders, or family dinners, in which we read and participate in the rituals and prayers from the book called the haggadah. Essentially, we tell the story of the Jews being freed by God from slavery in Egypt.

One of the most important parts of the Hagadah are the "4 questions". The "4 questions" actually are a misnomer, however, as the mitzvah lies entirely in the first question. That question is the one you read above in phoenetic Hebrew at the top of the page. It asks: "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

It is the children who are central to asking and participate in the 4 questions. As Jews, we wish to pass on our age-old religious traditions to the children who will someday inherit our places at the seder table. The idea is for them to ask to hear the story: "Why is this different?"; "Why is this special?"; "Why is this holy?"; "What in the world is going on??"

When a child asks questions like these, the answers aren't dry lessons in Jewish Law, but a story filled with richness, color and vitality that are brought to life before their very eyes! We are trying to recreate a fresh taste of what it felt like to be a slave, and, in turn, to be freed from slavery, all those years ago.

The answer, the way we Jews are freed from slavery, of course, is through Torah. By learning, by devoting our time to studying and living it, with love and devotion, we are able to free ourselves from all that enslaves us. To some that may be drugs, the computer, or pornography. To others, it may be gambling, food, sloth or any number of vices that we all struggle to overcome in our lives. We Jews refer to such inner demons as the yaytzer hara, or "evil inclination", that is capable of taking each of us over entirely, and enslaving us, just as pharoah enslaved us back in Egypt.

May all of you enjoy a sweet and festive Pesach that helps to free you from whatever lurks inside, seeking to enslave you and control your life for all the wrong reasons. Oh, and enjoy MZ's favorite mitzvah: It is a religious requirement for Jews to drink four full glasses of wine at the seder! :)

Chag Pesach Semayach!

-MZ

20 comments:

  1. Four full glasses of wine??? They'd have to scoop me up off the floor.

    I'm not Jewish, but have several Jewish friends. The Passover feast is beautiful--all that important symbolism and ancient tradition.

    Enjoy!

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  2. Chag Pesach Semayach!

    i love the passover and will share it with my wednesday night kids tomorrow night - they love hearing your stories, madze.

    i'm with aow on the four glasses of wine - oy! not to mention the throbbin' like a sick robin's butt tomorrow!

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  3. Great job! My husband always knows the importance of family and having a good n'shamah - or inner soul. Baby Z and I join with MZ in wishing everyone a happy Pesach!

    Love,
    Mrs. Z

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  4. thank you mrs. z - you are some woman! give my best to baby z - i know she is the apple of madze's eye - as it should be. it's so good to finally meet up with you. shalom

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  5. I will be returning to NYC tommorow. We will have to ask the allmighty to schedule exoduses for the weekends.

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  6. No more chumetz. Clean as a whistle here at the MZ household.

    How about Mrs Z showing up in blogland to say hello! Thanks, for the kind words, my dear.

    Nanc, you are correct. Baby Z is truly the aplle of my eye. I'm just glad I didn't name her Apple.

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  7. Oh, better not forget to give her an I love you.

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  8. okay - i love you baby z. um, madze, apple has two "p's", not two "l's" - you okay? sooooooo, that's what four glasses of wine does, NOW SHARE! if you'd named her apple, we'd be calling you something like gwyneth...

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  9. AOW, thanks for the kind sentiments; we are indeed fortunate as Jews to have such a rich heritage and traditions to live by. As far as the wine goes, I assure you, with all the food you'd be downing at that meal the wine wouldn't get you nearly so blasted as you think.

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  10. Beak, have a wonderful yuntif. Hope Elijah stops by your seder and has a glass of wine.

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  11. please madze, no more articles on this woman:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49694

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  12. MZ, Chag Sameach! Have a great Pesach, and here's to drinking some good Manischewitz!

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  13. Shalom Mr. Mad Zionist:

    To be sure, these are “AMONONOUS” times. I found the following clip from r. Meir Binyamin Kahane about Pesakh to be both inspirational and sobering. In my humble estimation, only an honest (accurate) accounting and strong adherence to what our religion really does require (and what it does not) will effect the changes we are all waiting for. You should merit to live many, long years and have many more happy festivals.

    "... and in answering the wise son, we tell him all the halachot, (for this too he requested to know) right up until the last one, which is the Afikoman. And there is a stress here that it doesn't suffice explaining to him the general idea of Judaism, but rather the halacha, up to the last detail is also needed. This is to teach all those who stress "nationalism" and other aspects of the Jewish idea, but abandon the fulfillment of the halacha and all it's details. Here we tell the wise son that as much as he gains wisdom in understanding the essence of Judaism, remember that all this is worth nothing if he forsakes the fulfillment of the practical mitzvot and it's details. In any case, without a doubt the basis of the answer is the story of the exodus from Egypt ("We were slaves...") which is the base of our faith, and if we believe in this, then we will come to understand that the Torah is truth and it is an obligation to fulfill it, because slaves we were to Pharo in Egypt, and now we are slaves to G-d... "

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  14. Jeff Bargholz4/13/2006 12:58 AM

    MZ,

    I hope you enjoy G--- gifts this passover. I know you'll honor him.

    The four cups of wine will more than make up for any cookies you miss out on. Cheers!

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  15. Ahhh MZ you are as cantankerous as ever (this post excepted).

    Nanc straightened me out because my link to your blog was as old as the "Bush Lied" slogan. So I thought you hadnt posted in a while.

    Silly me...

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  16. Another Infidel4/13/2006 7:18 AM

    MZ: Wishing you and your family a Happy Passover!

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  17. Another Infidel4/13/2006 7:19 AM

    OT: See what Norman lets-grope-grandma Mineta has graduated to!
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12284855/

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  18. a.i. - that is about as sad as it gets. quit posting such good articles to read!

    fern - you need to get out more often...

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  19. totally O.T.

    http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/iran

    iran threatening israel again.

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Thank you for commenting. Respectful debate and dissent are welcomed. MZ reserves the right to censor for any reason without explanation.