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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Seder Essentials

Passover, starting April 22, is in less than two weeks! Here are some insights on the Seder Essentials:

The Four Cups of Wine

One of the principal mitzvahs of the Pesach Seder is to drink four full cups of wine (or grape juice). No, this is not simply an experiment in altered states of consciousness; the four cups actually have profound Biblical significance.

Our Sages explain that - among many other reasons - the four cups correspond to the four expressions the Book of Exodus employs to describe our liberation and deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

The Meaning of Matzah

The mitzvah of eating matzah on the Seder night is of paramount importance. Why? What could be so significant about any food - especially one so plain? But the utter simplicity of matzah is precisely the point. Matzah is the humblest of foods—flat, unpretentious, unadulterated, and unadorned. Eating matzah on Passover helps us cultivate humility, which is the beginning of liberation.

The Bitter Herbs

Another basic mitzvah at the Seder is eating bitter herbs, which remind us of the bitter taste of slavery. Though today we may live in relative ease and comfort, we must never forget what it was like to live under the whips of Egyptian taskmasters. And we must remember that many people still live in fear, captivity, or need.

The Haggadah

The Haggadah is the story of the origins of the Jews as a People, told as a dialogue between parent and child. Questions are encouraged: "Why is this night different?" and "What does all this mean?" In Judaism, a searching, inquisitive mind is the key to understanding, growth, and fulfillment. Read the Haggadah out loud to get the most out of your Seder. If you don’t understand Hebrew, say it in English. And don’t settle for quick answers - every word has a wealth of deeper meaning. 

On the Seder night,  Passover matzah, Kosher wine,  and bitter herbs are our keys to freedom, and the Haggadah - the telling and retelling of the story of the exodus - is our road map for a journey begun over thirty-three centuries ago.

For more about Passover, please reach out to Rabbi Yehuda at (347) 770-4412

Shabbat candle lighting this week is at 7:15 PM.

Shabbat Shalom!


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