Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Passover guide to the days of Passover for all around the world. In Israel, the holiday is one day  shorter as we have only  on e Seder but the last day is Shabbat anyway so we have the same amount of days this year

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Solicit Advice on Major Decisions

The Ralbag wrote, "When making major decisions, even if you think your plans are definitely correct, it is wise to consult others to hear their opinions. They may raise important points you've overlooked.

Love Yehuda Lave

A simpleton will believe everything (Proverbs 14:15).

Faith and belief are both defined as accepting as true something which transcends logic and which may not be subject to proof by rational argument. Yet, belief in God is not the "blind faith" of a simpleton.

A simpleton does not think, either because he lacks the capacity or does not wish to make the effort. Therefore, he is gullible and can be easily swayed in any direction. Being credulous is not the same as having faith.

When we reflect on the concept of a Supreme Being, Who is in every way infinite, we are likely to feel bewilderment, because our finite minds cannot grasp the infinite. Since all of our experiences involve finite objects, we lack a point of reference for dealing with the infinite.

When this reflection brings us to realize that the question of the existence of an infinite Supreme Being cannot be logically resolved, we then turn to the unbroken mesorah, the teachings which have been transmitted from generation to generation, from the time when more than two million people witnessed the Revelation at Sinai. When we accept our faith on this basis, we do so as the culmination of a process of profound thought which is no way similar to the credulousness of a simpleton.

This process also helps us with other questions that we have about God. For instance, the fact that we cannot possibly logically understand God does not preclude our coming to a knowledge of His Presence.

Today I shall ...
strengthen my faith by reflecting on the unbroken chain of tradition since Sinai.

Was Moses Purged From the Haggadah? 10 Approaches By Yehuda Shurpin

The question of why Moses—the hero of the Passover story—does not appear in the Passover Haggadah is a popular one. Many answers have been suggested, some more likely than others, but all of them enlightening.

For accuracy's sake, note that Moses' name actually does appear once in the Haggadah: In the section where the various rabbis recount the great number of miracles that happened during the Exodus and the splitting of the sea, a proof text includes the words "and [the people] believed in the L‑rd and in His servant Moses."1 But the question still stands: Why isn't Moses part of the Haggadah's Exodus narrative?

1.There Is None Other Than G‑d Himself

The Haggadah itself stresses that it was not through angels or messengers that we were taken out of Egypt. Rather, it was done through G‑d Himself:

"And I will pass through the land of Egypt": I, and not an angel.

"And I will smite every firstborn in the land of Egypt": I, and not a seraph.

"And I will carry out judgments against all the gods of Egypt": I, and not a messenger.

"I—the L‑rd": it is I, and none other.

To emphasize this point, we don't mention Moses in the Haggadah.2

Some provide additional context, hypothesizing that the editors of the Haggadah were especially careful to make this distinction since they lived in an era when splinter groups like the Samaritans were looking to turn Moses almost into a deity. They therefore felt the need to stress that the miracles were performed by G‑d Himself.

2. Moses' Humility

Scripture attests that Moses was the humblest of all men, and it is safe to assume that he would not want to be the center of attention and the object of adulation year after year. We read that G‑d "does the will of those who fear Him."3 It therefore stands to reason that events were orchestrated so that Moses got his wish and was barely referenced in the Haggadah.4

3. Moses Didn't Talk About Himself

Torah instructs us: "You shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'Because of this, the L‑rd did [this] for me when I went out of Egypt.' "5

Picture the very first Passover, held exactly one year after the Exodus. Almost all the children remembered the events very clearly, having witnessed them themselves. All except for Moses' children, who had been in Midian at the time. Thus, Moses was the only Jewish parent who had a new story to tell his children, and he obviously didn't make a big deal about himself.6

4. The King and the Servant

A focus of the Seder night is to recognize, praise and thank G‑d for taking us out of Egypt. After all, "If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children's children would remain enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt . . ."When we celebrate, the Divine Presence celebrates with us. It is not respectful to thank the servant (Moses) in the presence of the King.7

5. Body and Soul

The redemption from Egypt was twofold: It was a physical release from backbreaking labor, and it was a spiritual metamorphosis, as we were transformed into a free people whose spirits could never be crushed. This explains why we continue to celebrate Passover even while we are in exile. Although we've been physically oppressed throughout history, our souls have been freed, and that is eternal and irreversible. And while Moses played a role in the physical redemption, this essential spiritual freedom was conferred by G‑d alone. Thus, since this is what we are truly celebrating, the focus is on G‑d and not Moses.8

6. The Kabbalistic Take

The Zohar tells us that the Israelites in Egypt had reached the "49th gate of impurity." Had they fallen but one more level, they could not have been redeemed. It was only through G‑d's mercy and an "arousal from Above" (Itaruta Dile'eyla, in Kabbalistic terms) that the Jews were able to be redeemed in the nick of time.

Relative to G‑d, Moses represents that which comes through human effort (Itaruta Diletata, "arousal from below"). It is therefore fitting that he is not mentioned on this night, when we celebrate G‑d's swooping down to save us even though we were barely deserving.9

7. In His Own Words

The Haggadah is essentially an expansion of a group of verses in Deuteronomy, formulated to be said when the Jews would bring bikkurim(first fruits) to the Temple, to give thanks for the gift of the Land of Israel. As a succinct (and grateful) retelling of the Exodus, this text was the perfect base upon which to build the Passover-night Haggadah.

Unlike the first four books of the Torah, Moses speaks in the first person in Deuteronomy. It follows naturally that the text does not emphasize Moses' contribution.10

8. There Is Always Hope

The sages knew that there would be times during the long exile in which, seeing no one of Moses' stature ready to lead them, people might wonder if their situation would ever improve. We therefore emphasize in the Haggadah that ultimately G‑d alone redeemed us from Egypt, and history can repeat itself at any moment.11

9. The Reluctant Redeemer

During their dialogue at the burning bush, when G‑d tells Moses to take the Jews out of Egypt, Moses tries to get out of the job: "I beseech You, O L‑rd, send now [Your message] with whom You would send."12 The sages explain that Moses, knowing that he was not destined to be the final redeemer of the Israelites, was beseeching G‑d to send the final redeemer, Moshiach, and thus end the exile once and for all.13 Since Moses didn't want to be the one to take the Jews out of Egypt, his name is omitted.

10. Look Deeper!

Our sages state that "Moses was the first redeemer and he is the final redeemer."14 While this is obviously not meant in the literal sense, since Moses was a Levite and Moshiach will be a descendant of King David, the mystics explain that Moshiach will have part of Moses' soul. Thus, he will indeed be both "the first redeemer and the final redeemer."15

Some point out that the final step of the Seder is called Nirtzah (נרצה), which has the numerical value of 345—the same numerical value as the name משה (Moses). Thus, as we conclude the Haggadah with the prayer for the ultimate redemption, we allude to Moses, who is both the first and final redeemer of our people.16

May the final redemption come speedily in our days!

Footnotes 1. Exodus 14:31 2. Often quoted in the name of the Gaon of Vilna (see Gra on the Haggadah, Vayotzeinu Hashem), but variations of this explanation are found in many commentaries. 3. Psalms 145:19. 4. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, Chofetz Chaim Al Hatorah, Behaalotecha. 5. Exodus 13:8. 6. Sedei Yitzchak, Derushei Chag Hapesach, p. 226. 7. Kovetz Kol Hatorah, p. 398. 8. Keli Chemdah, Pesach, 170. 9. Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgoray, quoted in Haseder Ha'aruch, ch. 129. 10. Zot Hatorah, Parshat Bo. 11. Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah of Klausenberg, quoted in Haseder Ha'aruch, ch. 129. 12. Exodus 4:13. 13. See Rashi on Exodus 4:13. 14. See Shemot Rabbah 2:4; Zohar I 253a. 15. See R. Chaim Vital's Likkutei Torah, and Sha'ar Hapesukim, on Genesis 49:10. See also Or Hachayimon, Genesis 49:11. 16. See Haggadah, Chodesh Ha'aviv, p. 235.
by Yehuda Shurpin

May He Who knows what is hidden accept our call for help and listen to our cry (Siddur).


The Talmud states that a person may be coerced to perform a mitzvah even if it is required that the mitzvah be done of one's own volition (Rosh Hashanah 6a).

But are not coercion and volition mutually exclusive? Not necessarily, explains Rambam. Inasmuch as the soul of the Jew intrinsically wishes to do the Divine will, and it is only the physical self - which is subject to temptation - that may be resistive, the coercion inflicted upon the person overcomes that external resistance. Thus, when one performs the mitzvah, it is with the full volition of the inner self, the true self, for at his core, every Jew wishes to comply with the mandates of the Torah.

There is a hidden part of us, to which we may have limited access, yet we know it is there. When we pray for our needs, said Rabbi Uri of Strelisk, we generally ask only for that which we feel ourselves to be lacking. However, we must also recognize that our soul has spiritual needs, and that we may not be aware of its cravings.

We therefore pray, said Rabbi Uri, that God should listen not only to the requests that we verbalize, but also to our hidden needs that are very important to us - but which He knows much better than we.

Today I shall ...
try to realize that there is a part of me of which I am only vaguely aware. I must try to get to know that part of myself, because it is my very essence.

Coca-Cola Recalls Dasani Water After Clear Parasite Worm Was Found In Bottles Across U.S-It can be kosher and still be dainted--watch what you drink

If you purchase/drink Dasani water you might want to listen up. There has been a major recall by the Coca-Cola company after several thousand bottles of their drinking water was found to be contaminated with a parasite. It has sent several hundred people to the hospital and is responsible for parasitic symptoms such as fever, rash, vomiting and stomach bloating.


This comes on the heels of a recent report in which Coca-Cola admitted that Dasani is really just"purified" tap water. The corporation admitted in January that their water brand was just purified tap water dressed in a fancy looking bottle. Like many other bottled waters, Dasani is sold at a premium price, and many people perceive it to be superior to tap water – even though it actually is just tap water.Even though the majority of the impurities have admittedly been removed from Dasani water, and minerals added back in, these parasites have somehow worked their way into their supposedly"clean" water system which has been passed on to the consumer.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shut down the manufacturing facility and issued a major recall on the brand. Do not drink this water! The FDA is recommending that if you have no choice but to consume the water, you MUST boil the water first to kill the parasite. Otherwise, it will host itself in your stomach lining and intestine and breed offsprings.

Note: Several weeks ago on FB, there was a post circulating from a lady who bought several bottles of Arrowhead water from a Walmart. She and a friend each drank a bottle, then later she was pouring water from one of the bottles into her dogs bowl and noticed that the water coming out was a rubbery like slush – it reminded me of chemcially nucleated ice Dane Wigington talks about. It didn't look like or have the consistency of melting ice which forms slush.

Honestly, it looked like big blobs of the parasites without the eyes…There's no way to know if the two cases are related, the lady who drank the Arrowhead didn't report any symptoms of illness when she made the video. So they're most likely unrelated.

Source: http://allofpregnency.com

Rabbi: Eating genetically cloned pig is kosher

By Yaron Steinbuch

March 22, 2018 | 12:02pm

Glatt tidings for pork lovers!

It would be kosher for Jews to consume pigs – including when eaten with dairy products – as long as the animals are genetically cloned, a prominent Orthodox rabbi in Israel has declared.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow told the Israeli news site Ynet that "cloned meat produced from a pig shall not be defined as prohibited for consumption – including with milk."

Cherlow apparently referred to meat grown artificially from pig cells — rather than that produced from a live pig whose genetic material comes from a cell from which the animal was cloned, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

But the Ynet report does not quote the Talmudist from the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization as making the distinction.

Cherlow said in the interview before a Bar Ilan University symposium titled "Science and Halacha" that he urged rabbinic approval of cloned meat so "people would not starve, to prevent pollution, and to avoid the suffering of animals."

When the "cell of a pig is used and its genetic material is utilized in the production of food, the cell in fact loses its original identity and therefore cannot be defined as forbidden for consumption," Cherlow argued.

"It wouldn't even be meat, so you can consume it with dairy," he added.

In 2013, Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of New York's Orthodox Union's kosher division, said the world's first test-tube burger could be eaten with dairy products — although Judaism forbids it in meat produced from a live animal.

He told the JTA that test-tube beef could be considered "parve," neither meat nor dairy, which meant that kosher cheeseburgers also were acceptable.

But Genack, who referred to the production of an artificial beef burger produced by scientists at a Dutch university, did not mention pork, whose consumption is one of Judaism's strictest prohibitions.

"Without prophesizing, clearly there will be a major disagreement," Cherlow said about the consumption of cloned meat.

And while "there is merit" in prohibiting this meat, too, Jewish law " should examine the needs of all humanity, not only one's own case," he added.

Passover begins this year on Friday evening, March 30 and continues until nightfall, Saturday, April 7, 2018.

As we all prepare for the Festival of Freedom, we bring you a brief overview of how and when to prepare your home for Passover, along with a daily holiday schedule for the entire holiday. If you have any further questions please consult your local orthodox rabbi or, in case you don't have one, feel free to write to us at www.chabad.org/asktherabbi.

Please read this guide in its entirety before the beginning of the holiday. Some holiday items need pre-holiday "action." We welcome you to print it and carry it with you in the days before Passover for easy reference, and to distribute this guide to whomever will benefit from it.

Operation Zero Chametz

Passover is a holiday that mandates our complete involvement, not just during its eight days but for weeks before. Aside from the regular holiday obligations, we are also commanded (Exodus 13:3–7): "No leaven shall be eaten . . . For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread . . . and no leaven shall be seen of yours [in your possession]."

We accomplish this by cleaning and inspecting our homes well before Passover, and gradually eliminating chametz from every room and crevice. This intensive cleaning takes place in Jewish homes throughout the world.

What Is Chametz?The Very Short Answer

Chametz is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and "rise."

In practice, just about anything made from these grains—other than Passover matzah, which is carefully controlled to avoid leavening—is to be considered chametz. This includes flour (even before it is mixed with water1), cake, cookies, pasta, breads, and items that have chametz as an ingredient, like malt.

The Biblical Basis

Just before the nation of of Israel left Egypt, G‑d commanded them to sacrifice the paschal lamb and then eat it with unleavened matzah and bitter herbs.2 G‑d then told them that they should replicate this feast every year on the anniversary of the Exodus: "It shall be for you a remembrance . . . seven days you shall eat matzah, and on the first day you should remove all se'or (sourdough, a leavening agent) from your homes. Anyone who eats chametz (leaven) from the first day to the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel."

When Is It Forbidden?

According to Jewish law, it is forbidden to eat chametz after the fourth halachic hour3 on the morning before Passover. It is forbidden to derive any benefit from chametz at the fifth hour, and all chametz should be burned before the sixth hour. From then until after Passover, chametz is completely forbidden.

Why does the prohibition start before Passover begins?

The Torah states: "You shall slaughter the Passover sacrifice to the L‑rd, your G‑d. . . . You shall not eat leaven with it."4 Tradition interprets this to mean that the prohibition of chametz starts from the time when the Passover sacrifice could be offered: from midday of the 14th of Nissan.5

To prevent people from transgressing the prohibition inadvertently, the sages decreed that the prohibition of eating chametz starts two hours before midday, and the prohibition of deriving any benefit starts one hour prior to midday.

To see the relevant halachic times for your area, click here.

Getting Rid of Chametz

Long before Passover begins, we clean our homes, offices, and any other place that belongs to us to rid our homes of chametz. Although it's praiseworthy to be stringent on Passover, keep in mind that dust isn't chametz. The main purpose of cleaning and searching for chametz is to remove any chametz that one may come to inadvertently eat or derive benefit from during Passover. This obligation of getting rid of chametz does not extend to inedible chametz or tiny crumbs or particles of chametz that are soiled or spoiled. So the key areas to focus on are things that may come in contact with food, since we are forbidden to eat anything with even a trace of chametz.

The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned, and all surfaces should be covered or koshered. Additionally, if you're using your regular utensils or appliances for Passover, they will need to be koshered. If finances permit, it is better (and easier) to simply buy a set of Passover utensils. For more on the specifics of getting rid of chametz and koshering your kitchen, click here.

Some non-food items, such as vitamins and cosmetics, may contain chametz and will need to be disposed of or sold (see below). Please consult with a rabbi for a list of permissible and prohibited items.

The Search

On the eve of the 14th of Nissan, with just 24 hours to go to the Seder, we search our property—including home, office and car—for any chametz that may have been missed in the cleaning process.

The custom is to conduct the search using a candle, feather, wooden spoon and a (paper) bag for collecting any chametz found. Have someone place 10 pieces of bread throughout the house to be found during the search.6

Before we start the search, we recite the blessing (found here). No interruption should be made between reciting the blessing and the start of the search. Additionally, during the search, we only discuss that which pertains to the search for chametz.

In order to ensure that we remember to conduct the search on time, it is forbidden to eat or even learn Torah after nightfall until after the search has been completed.

The Nullification

Following the search for chametz, we recite a "nullification statement" renouncing all ownership of any chametz that, unbeknownst to us, may still be in our possession. The nullification statement should be said in a language that you understand, and can be found here.

Through nullifying our chametz, we consider it as no more than dust and thus ownerless, thereby fulfilling the mitzvah of removing chametz from our possession.

The Sale

Utensils used for chametz (and chametz itself that you are reluctant to dispose of) may be sold to a person who is not Jewish for the duration of Passover. (Some have the custom not to sell any real chametz, although this is not the Chabad custom.)

The sold chametz and utensils should be set aside in a designated place (e.g., closet or cabinet), which is rented to the non-Jewish buyer until after Passover. This storage place should be clearly marked, so no one can take anything from there through force of habit.

The sale of chametz to the non-Jew is not a symbolic sale, but a legally binding transaction, and must therefore be conducted by a competent rabbi.

After writing a bill of sale, one may leave the chametz in his home without transgressing the prohibitions of not seeing or having chametz, since the chametz no longer belongs to him.

For more about the sale of chametz, click here.

To arrange for the sale of your chametz, click here.

The Burning

On the 14th of Nissan, before the sixth hour of the day, we burn any chametz that we still have. This includes the bag of chametz from our search the previous night.

After the chametz is burned, we again recite a nullification statement. However, this nullification statement has a slightly different wording than what was said at night after the search for chametz. The statement recited at night includes only chametz that was missed in the search, but doesn't include chametz set aside to be sold or eaten in the morning. When we burn the chametz, the statement includes all chametz that may still be in our possession, and serves as a final "safety measure" for a chametz-less Passover.

The text can be found here.


Due to the gravity of the prohibition of chametz, the medieval Ashkenazic rabbis also forbade the consumption of any kitniyot (very loosely translated as "legumes") on Passover, since they can be confused with the forbidden grains. This includes (but is not limited to): rice, corn, soybeans, stringbeans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame and poppy seeds. This ban was accepted as binding law by Ashkenazic Jewry.

The prohibition extends only to the consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover, and we can derive benefit from kitniyot products (e.g., pet food) during Passover.

For more on kitniyot, click here.

Chametz After Passover

Due to the severity of the prohibition of owning chametz on Passover, the rabbis of the Talmud established an after-the-fact penalty for owning any chametz products during Pesach. This prohibition is known as chametz she'avar alav haPesach. One may not consume or even derive benefit from such chametz, and if chametz is found either on or after Passover that was owned by a Jew during Passover, it needs to be destroyed.

So, what does that mean on a practical level? When you're purchasing chametz products after Passover from a Jewish-owned store, the owner cannot have owned that chametz during Passover. If he did, you'll need to refrain from purchasing any chametz products there until it is deemed that a sufficient amount of time has passed for all of those chametz products to have been sold. Consult your local rabbi with any questions regarding stores in your area.

This prohibition does not apply to kitniyot, since one is permitted to own it on Passover.

On a Spiritual Note

Chametz and matzah are almost the same substance, containing the same ingredients of flour and water. The one key difference is that while chametz bread rises, filling itself with hot air, the matzah stays flat and humble.

Thus, chametz represents that swelling of ego that enslaves the soul more than any external prison. It is for this reason that once a year on Passover, when we celebrate our freedom from slavery and our birth as a nation unto G‑d, we are extremely careful to eradicate any chametz that we may have.

The flat, unpretentious matzah represents the humility, self-effacement and commitment that are the ultimate liberators, enabling us to connect to G‑d without our egos getting in the way. And that is why eating matzah on Passover is so fundamental to our faith.


The medieval Jewish sages placed a ban on eating legumes (kitniyot) on Passover, because they are similar in texture to chametz—even bread can be made out of their flour—so people might assume that if, for example, cornbread can be eaten on Passover, wheat or rye bread can be eaten too. This prohibition includes rice, beans and corn. This injunction was unanimously accepted by Ashkenazic Jews; many Sephardic Jews, however, continue to eat kitniyot on Passover. If you are Sephardic, speak to your rabbi to determine your family and community tradition.

The prohibition is only with regards to consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation, however, to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover.

Getting Rid of Chametz

Search and Destroy
Any area where one can reasonably suspect that chametz might have been brought throughout the year must be thoroughly cleaned. This includes the home, office, cars, garage, etc. Check carefully to ensure that no crumb is left behind: check and clean desks, drawers, closets, clothing pockets (especially the children's), pocketbooks, briefcases and attache cases, beds, dining and living room furniture, bookcases, etc.

If You Can't Destroy it, Sell It
Chametz that you don't want to destroy, and utensils used throughout the year (and not koshered for Passover), should be stored in closets or rooms which will be sealed for the duration of Passover. The chametz should be sold to a non-Jew through a rabbi. Click here to sell your chametz online.

Preparing the Kitchen

Every part of our homes is cleaned for Passover, but we pay special attention to the kitchen, because (a) that's where most of our chametz hangs out during the year, and (b) we will be using our kitchens to prepare our Passover food.

Dishes and Utensils
Today, most Passover-savvy homes have a special set of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and other utensils for Passover use only. If necessary, certain year-round utensils can be used—provided they are koshered for Passover. This gets rather complex—you'll need to consult a competent rabbi about your particular utensils, but you can click here for the basic koshering procedures.

Thoroughly clean and scour every part of the stove. Heat the oven to the highest temperature possible for 1–2 hours. Heat the grates and the iron parts of the stove (and the elements, if electric) until they are red-hot. It is suggested that the oven and the stove top should be covered with aluminum foil afterwards for the duration of Passover.

Microwave Ovens
Clean the oven thoroughly. Fill a completely clean container, that was not used for 24 hours, with water. Turn on the microwave and let it steam heavily. Turn it off and wipe out the inside.

To use the microwave during Passover, use a flat, thick, microwave-safe object as a separation between the bottom of the oven and the cooking dish. When cooking or warming, the food should be covered on all sides.

For 24 hours before koshering the sink, do not pour hot water from chametz pots into it. Meticulously clean the sink, boil water in a clean pot which was not used for 24 hours, and pour three times onto every part of the sink, including the drain stopper. Then line the sink with foil or liner.

Refrigerator, Freezer, Cupboards, Closets, Tables, and Counters
Thoroughly clean and scrub them to remove any crumbs and residue. Afterwards, place a heavy covering over those surfaces that come into contact with hot food or utensils.

Tablecloths and Napkins
Launder without starch.

Cars, Garages, etc.
Vacuum your car or van; thoroughly clean your basement, garage, or any property you own. Special care should be taken with items you will be using, or rooms you will be accessing, during Passover.

Passover Shopping

While shopping for Passover we must be careful that the foods we buy are not only kosher, but are also kosher for Passover—that is, chametz-free.

Starting "From Scratch"

All fruits and vegetables, as well as all kosher cuts of meat and kosher fish, are kosher for Passover, provided they have been prepared in accordance with Jewish law and have not come into contact with chametz or chametz utensils.

The prevailing custom in Ashkenazi communities is that on Passover we do not eat rice, millet, corn, mustard, legumes (beans, etc.) or food made from any of these.

Commercially Prepared Products

Today there are many kosher-for-Passover packaged foods available. However, care must be used to purchase only those packaged foods that have reliable rabbinical supervision which is valid for Passover.

Obviously, all leavened foods made from—or that contain among their ingredients—wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt are actual chametz and are prohibited on Passover. Examples are bread, cake, cereal, spaghetti, beer and whiskey.

Check That Medicine Cabinet!

Many medicines, sprays, and cosmetics contain chametz. Consult a competent rabbi as to which ones may be used on Passover. The same applies to pet food.

Click here to to purchase your Passover essentials from our store.

The Passover Calendar—2018ThursdayMarch 29—13 Nissan

Did you remember to sell your chametz? Your local Chabad rabbi can help, or complete an online "Authorization for the Sale of Chametz" form by clicking here.

Search for the chametz after dark (click here for the exact time). Recite the blessing prior to the search, and the nullification of the chametz (Kol Chamira) following the search. Click here for more information on the search and removal of chametz.

FridayMarch 30—14 Nissan
The day before Passover

Fast of the Firstborn. For a male firstborn to be exempt from fasting, he must participate in a meal marking the fulfillment of a mitzvah; such a meal is generally held in a synagogue after morning prayers on this day.

Have you sold your chametz? Final call! Your local Chabad rabbi can help, or complete an online "Authorization for the Sale of Chametz" form by clicking here.

Stop eating chametz before the end of the fourth seasonal hour (click here for the exact time).

Burn your remaining (unsold) chametz before the fifth seasonal hour (click here for the exact time).

It is customary to recite the "Order of the Passover Offering" after the afternoon Minchah prayer. All Seder items and food for the holiday meals must be prepared before the onset of the holiday.

Light the Passover candles, reciting blessings 2 & 4. Click here for the blessings, and here for local candle-lighting times. Click here for a summary of the laws of Yom Tov.

According to Chabad custom, complete Hallel is recited during Maariv (evening) services.

First Seder: The Seder contains the observance of many biblical and rabbinical mitzvot, including: eating matzah, eating maror (bitter herbs), drinking four cups of wine, relating the story of the Exodus to our children, reclining as a symbol of freedom, etc. (Click here for a How-To Seder guide.)

To locate a public Seder near you, please click here.

The first night of Passover is referred to as leil shimurim (a night of guarding), based on Exodus 12:42.

ShabbatMarch 31—15 Nissan
1st day of Passover

Morning service. Full Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark.
Torah reading: Exodus 12:21–51 and Numbers 28:16–25.
Haftorah: Joshua 3:5–7, 5:2–6:1, 6:27.

Beginning with the Musaf Amidah, we recite morid hatal, the prayer for dew, and we omit the prayer for rain. This practice continues until Shemini Atzeret, the day after Sukkot.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Festive lunch meal.

According to Chabad custom, complete Hallel is recited during Maariv evening prayers, followed by the "Counting of the Omer." We count the 1st day of the Omer. The counting of the Omer is recited during each of the next 49 days, leading up to the holiday of Shavuot on the 50th day. The 49 days embody the 49 steps of self-improvement—beginning with the departure from our "personal" Egypt, until our arrival at Mount Sinai, when we are ready to accept the wisdom of the Torah.

After dark, light candles for the second day of Passover, using an existing flame, and recite blessings 2 & 4. Click here for the blessings, and here for local candle-lighting times.

Second Seder: The Seder contains the observance of many biblical and rabbinical mitzvot, including: eating matzah, eating maror (bitter herbs), drinking four cups of wine, relating the story of the Exodus to our children, reclining as a symbol of freedom, etc. (Click here for a How-To Seder guide.)

SundayApril 1—16 Nissan
2nd day of Passover

Morning service. Full Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark.
Torah reading: Leviticus 22:26–23:44 and Numbers 28:16–25.
Haftorah: II Kings 23:1–9, 21–25.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Festive lunch meal.

After nightfall, count the 2nd day of the Omer.

Celebrate Passover's intermediate days. Between now and the last two days of Passover, we may resume much (not all) of our regular workday activities; but, of course, we continue to eat Kosher for Passover foods exclusively. It is customary to drink a glass of wine each day, in celebration of the festival. After evening prayers, perform the havdalah ceremony, omitting the blessings on the spices and candle.

MondayApril 2—17 Nissan
3rd day of Passover
1st day of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days)

Morning service: In many communities, throughout the intermediate days of Passover, tefillin are not worn.

Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. Torah reading: Exodus 13:1-16 and Numbers 28:19–25. The Musaf Amidah is recited. During all of the intermediate days, "Yaaleh Veyavo" is inserted during all prayers and in the Grace After Meals.

The intermediate days are observed with limited work restrictions.

After nightfall, count the 3rd day of the Omer.

TuesdayApril 3—18 Nissan
4th day of Passover
2nd day of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days)

Morning service: In many communities, throughout the intermediate days of Passover, tefillin are not worn.

Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. Torah reading: Exodus 22:24–23:19 and Numbers 28:19–25. The Musaf Amidah is recited. During all of the intermediate days, "Yaaleh Veyavo" is inserted during all prayers and in the Grace After Meals.

The intermediate days are observed with limited work restrictions.

Light candles for the Shabbat and recite blessing 1. Click here for the blessings and here for local candle-lighting times. Shalom Aleichem is recited quietly.

After nightfall, count the 4th day of the Omer.

WednesdayApril 4—19 Nissan
5th day of Passover
3rd day of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days)
Torah reading: Exodus 34:1-26 and Numbers 28:19–25.
Haftorah: Ezekiel 37:1-14.

Morning service: Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. During all of the intermediate days, "Yaaleh Veyavo" is inserted during all prayers and in the Grace After Meals.

Shabbat festive lunch.

In some communities it is customary to read the Song of Songs

After nightfall and evening prayers, count the 5th day of the Omer.


Thursday April 5—20 Nissan
6th day of Passover
4th day of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days)

Morning service: In many communities, throughout the intermediate days of Passover, tefillin are not worn.

Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. Torah reading: Numbers 9:1-14 and Numbers 28:19–25. The Musaf Amidah is recited. During all of the Intermediate Days, "Yaaleh Veyavo" is inserted during all prayers and in the Grace After Meals.

The Intermediate Days are observed with limited work restrictions.

Light candles for the 7th day of Passover, and recite blessing 2. Click here for the blessing, and here for local candle-lighting times.

Evening prayers. After the Amidah, count the 6th day of the Omer.

Festive holiday meal, complete with the holiday kiddush.

It is customary in many communities to remain awake all night, studying Torah, in commemoration of the great miracle of the splitting of the sea, which occurred on the 7th day of Passover.

Friday April 6—21 Nissan
7th day of Passover—Shevi'i Shel Pesach

Morning service. Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark.
Torah reading: Exodus 13:17–15:26 and Numbers 28:19–25.
Haftorah: II Samuel 22:1–51.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Festive lunch meal.

Evening prayers. After the Amidah, count the 7th day of the Omer.

Light candles for the 8th day of Passover, using an existing flame, and recite blessing 2. Click here for the blessing, and here for local candle-lighting times.

Festive holiday meal, complete with the holiday and Shabbat kiddush.

Shabbat April 7—22 Nissan
Final Day of Passover—Acharon Shel Pesach

Morning service. Half-Hallel is recited. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark.
Torah reading: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17 and Numbers 28:19–25.
Haftorah: Isaiah 10:32–12:6.

The Yizkor memorial service is recited following the Torah reading.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Festive lunch meal.

On this final day of Passover we strive for the highest level of freedom, and focus on the final redemption. Following the Baal Shem Tov's custom, we end Passover with "Moshiach's Feast"—a festive meal complete with matzah and four cups of wine, during which we celebrate the imminent arrival of the Messiah. The feast begins before sunset and continues until after nightfall.

Evening prayers. After the Amidah, count the 8th day of the Omer.

After nightfall, perform the havdalah ceremony.

Nightfall is the official end of Passover (for the exact time, click here). Wait an hour to give the rabbi enough time to buy back your chametz before eating it.

Sunday April 8—23 Nissan

The day following the holiday is known as Isru Chag. It is forbidden to fast on this day.


Passover Candle-Lighting Blessings

Note: Please refer to the Holiday Calendar above to determine which blessings are recited on which holiday and Shabbat nights.


Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.


Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Yom Tov light.


Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat and Yom Tov light.


Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.


The Seder Ingredients

Matzah, the "Food of Faith"
When our forefathers left Egypt, they were in such a hurry that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise. They therefore ate matzah, unleavened bread. With only this food (but with great faith), our ancestors relied on the Almighty to provide sustenance for the entire Jewish nation—men, women and children. Each year, to remember this, we eat matzah on the first two nights of Pesach, thereby fulfilling the Torah's commandment, "Matzot shall you eat . . ."

The Humblest of Foods
Matzah symbolizes faith. In contrast to leavened bread, matzah is not enriched with oil, honey or other substances. It consists only of flour and water, and is not allowed to rise. Similarly, the only "ingredients" for faith are humility and submission to G‑d, which come from recognizing our "nothingness" when compared with the infinite wisdom of the Creator.

One of the holiday's primary obligations is to eat matzah during the Seder. It is strongly recommended to use shmurah matzah to fulfill this commandment.

Matzah is eaten three times during the Seder:

  1. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt (Maggid), washing our hands for bread (Rachtzah) and reciting the blessings (Motzi Matzah), 1¾ ounces of matzah are eaten.
  2. For the sandwich (Korech), ¾ of an ounce of matzah is eaten.
  3. For the afikoman at the end of the meal (Tzafun), a minimum of ¾ of an ounce (and ideally 1½ ounces) of matzah are eaten.

In each instance, the matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes.

How much is one ounce of Matzah?
Half a piece of shmurah matzah is generally one ounce.

If store-bought matzot are used, the weight of the box of matzot divided by the number of pieces shows how much matzah is the equivalent of one ounce.


Shmurah Matzah

Shmurah means "watched," and it is an apt description of this matzah, the ingredients of which (the flour and water) are watched from the moment of harvesting and drawing.

The day chosen for the harvesting of the wheat is a clear, dry day. The moment it is harvested, the wheat is inspected to ensure that there is absolutely no moisture. From then on, careful watch is kept upon the grains as they are transported to the mill. The mill is meticulously inspected by rabbis and supervision professionals to ensure that every piece of equipment is absolutely clean and dry. After the wheat is milled, the flour is again guarded in its transportation to the bakery. Thus, from the moment of harvesting through the actual baking of the matzah, the flour is carefully watched to ensure against any contact with water.

The water, too, is carefully guarded to prevent any contact with wheat or other grain. It is drawn the night before the baking, and kept pure until the moment it is mixed with the flour to bake the shmurah matzah.

Also in the bakery itself, shmurah matzot are under strict supervision to avoid any possibility of leavening during the baking process. This intensive process and careful guarding gives the shmurah matzah an added infusion of faith and sanctity—in fact, as the matzah is being made, all those involved constantly repeat, "L'shem matzot mitzvah"—"We are doing this for the sake of the mitzvah of matzah."

Shmurah matzot are round, kneaded and shaped by hand, and are similar to the matzot that were baked by the Children of Israel as they left Egypt. It is thus fitting to use shmurah matzah on each of the two Seder nights for the matzot of the Seder plate.

Click to order your own shmurah matzah.


Passover Wine

For each of the four cups at the Seder, it is preferable to use undiluted wine. However, if needed, the wine may be diluted with grape juice. (One who cannot drink wine may use grape juice alone.)

One drinks a cup of wine four times during the Seder:

  1. At the conclusion of kiddush.
  2. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, before eating the matzah of Motzi Matzah.
  3. At the conclusion of the Grace After Meals.
  4. After reciting the Hallel.

It is preferable to drink the entire cup each time. However, it is sufficient to drink only the majority of each cup.

How large a cup should be used? One that contains at least 3½ fluid ounces.


The Seder Plate

The Seder plate is the focal point of the proceedings on the first (two) night(s) of Passover. Whether it is an ornate silver dish or a humble napkin, it bears the ceremonial foods around which the Seder is based: matzah, the zeroa (shankbone), egg, bitter herbs, charoset paste and karpas vegetable.

Preparing these items requires some time. It is best to prepare all the Seder foods before the onset of the holiday, in order to avoid halachic questions.

The special foods we eat on Passover are also food for thought. Every item on the Seder plate abounds in meaning and allusion. Here you will learn the descriptions of each of the foods, the reason why it is included, the method of preparing it, and its role in the Seder meal.


Three matzot are placed on top of each other on a plate or napkin, and then covered. (Some also have the custom to separate the matzot from each other with interleaved plates, napkins or the like.)

We have three matzot, so that we can break one (as a slave would), and still have two whole matzot over which to recite the Hamotzi blessing (as required on Shabbat and holidays). The matzot are symbolic of the three groups of Jews: Priests, Levites and Israelites. They also commemorate the three measures of fine flour that Abraham told Sarah to bake into matzah when they were visited by the three angels (Genesis 18:6).

It is ideal to use handmade shmurah matzah, which has been zealously guarded against moisture from the moment of harvest. You can purchase shmurah matzah here.

On a cloth or plate placed above the three matzot, we place the following items:

The Zeroa (Shankbone)

A piece of roasted meat represents the lamb that was the special paschal sacrifice on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, and annually on the afternoon before Passover in the Holy Temple.

Some use a forearm of a lamb. Called the zeroa, it alludes to the verse which states, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm (zeroa)."

Since we don't want to appear to offer the paschal sacrifice in the absence of the Holy Temple, others take care to use something that is relatively dissimilar to the actual offering. Accordingly, many communities have the custom to use a roasted chicken neck or the like.

Preparation: Roast the neck on all sides over an open fire on the stove. Afterwards, some have the custom to remove the majority of the meat of the neck (but not all of it).

Role in the Seder: The zeroa is not eaten at the Seder. After the meal it can be refrigerated, and used again on the Seder plate the following night.

Beitzah (Egg)

A hard-boiled egg represents the pre-holiday offering (chagigah) that was brought in the days of the Holy Temple. The meat of this animal constituted the main part of the Passover meal. The Aramaic word for "egg" is bei'ah, which is similar to the Aramaic word for "desire," expressing that this was the night when G‑d desired to redeem us.

Preparation: Boil one egg per Seder plate, and possibly more for use during the meal.

Role in the Seder: Place one egg on the plate. As soon as the actual meal is about to begin, remove the egg from the Seder plate and use during the meal.

A popular custom is to eat these eggs together with the saltwater which was set on the table.

Maror and Chazeret (Bitter Herbs)

Bitter herbs (maror) remind us of the bitterness of the slavery of our forefathers in Egypt. Fresh grated horseradish, and romaine lettuce (or endives), are the most common choices.

The leaves of romaine lettuce are not bitter; but the stem, when left to grow in the ground, turns hard and bitter. So it was with our enslavement in Egypt. At first the deceitful approach of Pharaoh was soft and sensible, and the work was done voluntarily and even for pay. Gradually it evolved into forced and cruel labor.

Preparation: Peel the raw horseradish roots, rinse and dry well.

Next, grate the horseradish with a hand grater or food processor. (This must be done before the holiday begins.) Whoever will be grating the horseradish may begin to shed copious tears or cough a lot. Shielding the mouth and nose with a cloth may help. No beets or other condiments should be added to the horseradish.

Romaine lettuce is often very sandy. Wash each of the leaves separately, checking very carefully for insects. Take care that they do not soak for 24 hours. (Those who are particular not to eat matzah that becomes moist should pat the lettuce gently with a towel and let it sit until completely dry, so that there will be no moisture to come in contact with the matzah.)

Depending on how much romaine lettuce is needed, it can take several hours to prepare. This task should be completed before candle-lighting time on the first night. Prepare enough leaves for both nights, and store in the refrigerator.

Romaine is preferred over horseradish, and many have the custom to use both kinds together. Place a few cleaned, dried leaves of romaine lettuce on the Seder plate, topped with the horseradish. Since this will be used twice, it actually takes two spots on the Seder plate. The top pile (in the center of the plate) is called maror (bitter herbs), while the pile that sits beneath it is referred to as chazeret (lettuce).

Role in the Seder: After the recital of most of the Haggadah comes the ritual handwashing. Then matzah is eaten, followed by some maror (taken from the maror pile), followed in turn by a sandwich of matzah and maror (this time taken from the chazeret pile).

Charoset (Paste)

A mixture of apples, pears, nuts and wine, which resembles the mortar and brick made by the Jews when they toiled for Pharaoh.

Preparation: Shell nuts and peel apples and pears, and chop finely. Mix together and add a small amount of wine.

Role in the Seder: This is used as a type of relish, into which the maror is dipped (and then shaken off) before eating.

Karpas (Vegetable)

Many have the custom to use parsley, called karpas in Hebrew. This vegetable alludes to the backbreaking work of the Jews as slaves, as the Hebrew letters of karpas can be arranged to spell the word perech plus the letter samech. Perech means backbreaking work, and samech is numerically equivalent to 60, referring to 60 myriads, equaling 600,000, which was the number of Jewish males over 20 years of age who were enslaved in Egypt.

Preparation: Prepare your vegetable, an onion or (boiled) potato in many Eastern European traditions. Cut off a slice and place on Seder plate. On the table, next to the Seder plate, place a small bowl of saltwater.

Role in the Seder: After recital of kiddush, the family goes to the sink and ritually washes their hands, but without saying the usual blessing.

Everyone then takes a very small piece of the vegetable and dips it in saltwater. After the appropriate blessing is said, the karpas is eaten. Care should be taken that each person eats less than 17 grams (about ½ ounce).

And Here Is Your Finished Seder Plate:

Now that you've gotten your Seder plate down pat, here are some other Seder essentials for you:

Or watch this inspirational video to get you into the freedom-filled Passover spirit

What Is a Seder?

See you tomorrow and get ready for Pesach

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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