Please use the Search bar to access the archives instead of the Alphabetical / Chronological Archives as we are experiencing technical difficulties with those areas of the website. Thank you.

back to blog home | about Rabbi Buchwald |  back to main NJOP site

Passover Summaries

Passover 5777-2017

“לֶחֶם עֹנִי –Lechem Oni: The Bread of Affliction

Matzah is referred to in scripture as “Lechem Oni,” the bread of affliction. It is important for contemporary Jews to remember the message and meaning of “Lechem Oni,” during our own Passover celebrations.

Link to full version

Passover II 5776-2016

“The Final Days of Passover: Love and Hope”

The final days of Passover are a precursor to the “End of Days.” They reflect the hope that the Messianic days are at hand, when peace will prevail on earth and when Israel’s special love relationship with G-d Al-mighty will be fully restored.

Link to full version

Passover I 5776-2016

“The Children, The Children!”

The order of the Passover Hagaddah is unusually complex. The Malbim explains that there is a fundamental message that the Haggadah is trying to convey that accounts for the unusual order of the text.

Link to full version

Passover II 5775-2015

“The Final Days: Expressing Gratitude”

The final days of Passover celebrate the Israelites’ miraculous crossing of the sea. These festival days are meant to remind us that every Jew must strive to relive the miracle of the splitting of the sea every day, and express a full sense of gratitude to the Al-mighty.

Link to full version

Passover 5775-2015

“Learning to Revere G-d”

The Bet HaLevi explains why the Israelites gained a sense of “Yir’aht Shamayim,” reverence for Heaven, only when they saw the Egyptians drown at the sea, and not earlier when they beheld the Ten Plagues that struck the Egyptians in Egypt.

Link to full version

Passover 5774-2014

“The Opening Act”

The wise authors of the Hagaddah knew well that if the reader’s or participant’s attention is not captured in the first few moments of the Seder ritual, then the likelihood of success is much diminished. That is why they created a natural, dramatic opening for the Seder, one that has had repeated success for more than two thousand years.

Link to full version

Passover II 5773-2013

“The Final Days of Passover: A Call For Modesty in Jewish Life”

When Moses and the people of Israel sang praises to G-d as they crossed the Red Sea, the Al-mighty chose to embrace the Israelites and betroth them despite the fact that they were wretched and filthy from the enslavement in Egypt.

Link to full version

Passover 5773-2013

“Remembering the Exodus From Egypt”

The phrase “to remember the Exodus from Egypt” seems to appear everywhere one looks in Jewish life. Remembering the Exodus from Egypt is indeed a fundamental principle of Jewish life with abundant implications and ramifications.

Link to full version

Passover II 5772-2012

“G-d Shall Do Battle for You, and You Shall Remain Silent”

On the seventh day of Passover, we celebrate the salvation of the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians by the splitting of the Red Sea. Faith is what worked for the people at the shores of the Red Sea, and faith is what still works for the Jewish people today.

Link to full version

Passover I 5772-2012

“Optimism and Faithfulness”

The message of Passover is the message of Springtime, of optimism and redemption. While we celebrate our salvation by the Al-mighty, we must remember the challenges that our people endured and continue to endure today. We must step forward to show our own personal goodness and, by extension, the extraordinary goodness of our faith and our tradition.

Link to full version

Passover 5771-2011

“At the Passover Seder We Are All Children”

Children play a central part in the Passover story. The Passover seder is therefore designed to serve as a communal learning experience where everyone is regarded as a child and a student.

Link to full version

Passover 5770-2010

“The Festival of Liberation”

The care, some would say, obsessive concern, with which Jews try to avoid chometz is widely acknowledged. If that is the case, why has matzoh not been prohibited, since it embodies the exact ingredients found in chometz?

Link to full version

Passover 5769-2009

“What is the Prophet Elijah Doing at Our Passover Seder?”

What is Elijah, the zealous and angry prophet of Israel, doing at our joyous Passover Seder? This seemingly inappropriate guest turns out to be a most appropriate visitor who adds important dimensions to our Passover Seder.

Link to full version

Passover: The Second Days 5768-2008

“Counting the Omer”

The period of the counting of the Omer commences on the second night of Passover. In ancient Temple times, it was on the second day of Passover that the barley offering was brought, allowing the use of the newly harvested crop. Today, the Omer period is an ambivalent period on the Jewish calendar. Although it is a period of semi-mourning, it is also a period of significant optimism, when Jews look forward toward redemption and revelation, just as the Exodus led the ancient Hebrews to Mount Sinai and the receiving of the Torah.

Link to full version

Passover 5768-2008

“The Wind and the Sun”

The Passover Haggadah cites the verse from Deuteronomy 26:7, “Va’yah’ray’oo,” which states that the Egyptians treated the Hebrews badly. Rather than translate “va’yah’ray’oo,” to mean that they treated us “badly,” the Abarbanel indicates that its root stems from the word “ray’ah,” or friend. Rabbi Piron concludes that Jews need to be on guard more from our so-called friends who embrace us and draw us away from our moral and ethical moorings, than from our enemies who try to physically destroy us.

Link to full version

Passover 5767-2007

“Hitting Bottom”

The Zohar says that the Jewish people in Egypt had reached the 49th of 50 levels of impurity. One more level and the Israelites would have been irretrievable–unfit for redemption. Why did G-d wait so long and not redeem them sooner?

Link to full version

Passover 5766-2006

“Ancient Customs in a New Light”

The obscure rule of not breaking the bone of the Pascal lamb that is sacrificed for Passover, sheds much light on the meaning and nature of the observance, practice and celebration of the Passover festival.

Link to full version

Passover II 5765-2005

“On the Seventh Day the Walls of Water Split”

According to tradition, the children of Israel marched through the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea) on the seventh day of Passover. The Torah in Exodus 14 declares twice that “the waters were a wall for them on their right and on their left.” This unusual repetition of the phrase begs elucidation, and, of course, there is much to learn from this repetition.

Link to full version

Passover I 5765-2005

“In Every Generation”

The story of the Exodus and the celebration of the Passover recalls the physical salvation of the Jews from the slavery of Egypt at the hand of Pharaoh. But more than the physical suffering of the Jews throughout the ages, the spiritual losses have taken an even greater toll on the Jewish people. The festival of Passover is an important opportunity for the vast majority of the Jews of the world who are now rapidly assimilating to experience a true spiritual redemption during this Festival of Redemption.

Link to full version

Chol Hamoed Pesach 5764-2004

“With G-d as Our Partner”

If the Egyptian magicians were able to replicate some of the plagues G-d visited upon Egypt, why couldn’t they remove any of the plagues that G-d sent? Was Moses the agent of G-d who brought about the plagues, or was he more than that? Through the Biblical text, an interesting lesson is learned about the true nature of leadership.

Link to full version

Passover 5763-2003

“Chametz, Matzah and Faith in Redemption”

A major theme of the Passover holiday is the elimination of chametz–leaven, and the substitution of matzah, unleavened bread in its stead. Oddly enough, both chametz and matzah are made of the same ingredients, flour and water. However, chametz is allowed to ferment. Matzah, on the other hand, is not permitted to stand and ferment, but must be constantly kneaded. Flour and water become chametz automatically if the mixture is allowed to stand. We learn from the matzah that a truly meaningful life never comes effortlessly, but only through significant exertion and labor.

Link to full version

Passover 5761-2001

“The Final Days of Pesach–Days of Unity”

For Jews who live in the Diaspora, the last day of Passover is meant to be a day of unity, hit’chab’root, of coming together. Just as the ancient Children of Israel go down into Egypt as 70 souls, as members of 12 disparate tribes and emerge as one united nation, so are contemporary Jews bidden to emphasize what common bonds we have, rather than the differences. Passover, after all, is in the month of Nissan, the month of redemption. Only through unity will the Jewish people be fortunate enough to achieve ultimate redemption.

Link to full version

Passover 5760-2000

“The Passover Seder–Focus on the Children”

Even before the enslavement of the Jews began, Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill all newborn Jewish babies. The Midrash goes further, asserting that Pharaoh’s disproportionate hatred of Jewish children led him to try to remedy his leprosy affliction by bathing in the blood of Jewish children. On Passover night, every Jew is a child, and every Jew becomes a parent, to underscore the importance of nurturing the next generation.

Link to full version