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The Mourning Light

The Mourning Light

It was the saddest day of the year. I sat on the cold, hard floor with hundreds of fellow Jews, hungry, thirsty and unshaven. Together we mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, studying Lamentations, the haunting words of Jeremiah the Prophet. For six straight hours we...
Afikoman: Concealment and Discovery

Afikoman: Concealment and Discovery

In most families, the joy of Passover is remembered as a simple drama played out by the children: the stealing of the afikoman. On Pesach even the drowsiest child’s attention is riveted to the Seder table and to the afikoman’s every movement. From the...
The Four Sons

The Four Sons

Judaism encourages inquiry. However, this must be inquiry with a sincere intent to learn and to gain knowledge, and not provocation or derisive scoffing. The question posed by the wise person is: Why are so many and varied mitzvot related to the Exodus? What is so...
Out of Egypt

Out of Egypt

 In every generation, every person is obligated to envision himself as if he personally had gone out from Egypt. Are we meant to take these words from the Pesach Haggadah literally? If so, it seems an impossible task. With only moderate effort we might recall ancient...
Beating the Branches

Beating the Branches

The Torah does not provide explicit reasons for every mitzvah (commandment) and, especially for the negative commandments, we do not have definitive explanations why the Torah prohibits wearing mixtures of wool and linen, eating meat with milk, etc. But for positive...