Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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This path is short and long, and the other is long and short (Eruvin 53b).
The Talmud relates that these were the directions a young child gave to Rabbi Yehoshua when he asked the way to the city. Rabbi Yehoshua first took the short way. Although he soon found himself in the city's outskirts, fenced-in orchards blocked the entrance, and he had to retrace his steps and take the longer route, which eventually brought him to his destination.
In our haste, we often look for shortcuts. Who hasn't driven to an unfamiliar area, found what looked like a shortcut on the map and taken it, only to discover that it really was a very slow route, and that taking the highway might have indeed been a few miles longer, but it would have brought them to their destination much sooner? As someone said, "A shortcut is often the fastest way to get to somewhere you don't want to be."
Two men were put into a maze, and one soon found his way out. He stated that whenever he came to a dead end, he retraced his steps and marked the entrance to that path, so that he would know which one not to take.
If this principle is true with road travel, how much more so it is with the paths through life, where the apparent easier way is so often misleading. Some paths in life lead nowhere. We can either discover them ourselves, or we can ask our elders and profit by their experience. They may have marked off those paths that they found led nowhere.
Today I shall ... ... ask for guidance from older and wiser people who have had experience in life, so that I may avoid mistakes that they have made.
Yom HaAliyah Day was yesteday, but you didn't read much about it
Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) (Hebrew: יום העלייה) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually according to the Jewish calendar on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan and also observed in schools on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, to commemorate the historic events of the Jewish People entering the Land of Israel as written in the Bible, which happened on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan (Hebrew: י' ניסן). The holiday was established to acknowledge Aliyah, immigration to the Jewish state, as a core value of the State of Israel, and honor the ongoing contributions of Olim ("Jewish immigrants") to Israeli society.
The opening clause of the Yom HaAliyah Law states in Hebrew: "מטרתו של חוק זה לקבוע יום ציון שנתי להכרה בחשיבותה של העלייה לארץ ישראל כבסיס לקיומה של מדינת ישראל, להתפתחותה ולעיצובה כחברה רב־תרבותית, ולציון מועד הכניסה לארץ ישראל שאירע ביום י׳ בניסן. " 
HistoryJoshua Leading the Israelites Across the Jordan on 10th of Nisan, Benjamin West
Yom HaAliyah, as a modern holiday celebration, began in 2012 as a grassroots community initiative and young Olim self-initiated movement in Tel Aviv, spearheaded by the TLV Internationals organization of the Am Yisrael Foundation. On June 21, 2016 the Twentieth Knesset voted in favor of codifying the grassroots initiative into law by officially adding Yom HaAliyah to the Israeli national calendar. The Yom HaAliyah bill was co-sponsored by Knesset members from different parties in a rare instance of cooperation across the political spectrum of the opposition and coalition. The key Knesset parliamentarians whom wrote and worked on the Yom HaAliyah bill were Miki Zohar of Likud, Hilik Bar of Israeli Labor Party, and Michael Oren of Kulanu.
The original day chosen for Yom HaAliyah, the tenth of Nisan, is laden with symbolism. Although a modern holiday created by the Knesset of Israel, the tenth of Nisan is a date of Jewish religious significance referred to in the Bible.  On that day, according to the biblical narrative in the Book of Joshua, Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River at Gilgal into the Promised Landwhile carrying the Ark of the Covenant. It was thus the first documented "mass Aliyah." On that day, God commanded the Israelites to commemorate and celebrate the occasion by erecting twelve stones with the text of the Torah engraved upon them. The stones represented the entirety of the Jewish nation's twelve tribes and their gratitude for God's gift of the Land of Israel(Hebrew: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, Modern: Eretz Yisrael, Tiberian: ʼÉreṣ Yiśrāʼēl) to them.  That date is also significant as it was the first Shabbat HaGadol that took place five days before the Israelites left Egypt beginning The Exodus. This is also the date that Moses's sister Miriam died and according to the Biblical narrative her well that miraculously traveled with the Israelites through the desert dried up. (Numbers, 20:1,2). 
From the modern founding of the State of Israel, honoring Aliyah as a core value of the nation is evident even in the text of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. "After being forcibly exiled from their Land, the People kept faith with it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom."
Aliyah is an important Jewish religious concept and a fundamental component of Zionism. For much of Jewish history, the majority of the Jewish People have lived in the diaspora where Aliyah was developed as a national aspiration for the Jewish people. It is enshrined in Israel's Law of Return, which accords any Jew (deemed as such by halakha and/or Israeli secular law) the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship.
Someone who "makes Aliyah" is called an "Oleh" (m.; pl. "Olim") or "Olah" (f.; pl. "Olot"). Many religious Jews espouse Aliyah as a return to the Promised Land, and regard it as the fulfillment of God's biblical promise to the descendants of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, also known as Nachmanides or the Ramban, includes making Aliyah in his enumeration of the 613 commandments.
The Bible is laden with references to a future when the Jewish People would have a mass return to the Land of Israel. The Bible recounts that when God sent the Jews to exile from the Holy Land approximately 2,500 years ago, He made a promise about the future of Aliyah: "And it shall come to pass that on that day, the Lord shall continue to apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea." (Isaiah 11:11). God promised that one day, He would gather His children from the four corners of the earth, and bring them back home, to the Land of Israel: "And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:12). "And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and they shall come to Zion with song, and with everlasting joy on their heads; gladness and joy shall overtake them; sorrow and sighing shall flee." (Isaiah 51:11). "Fear not for I am with you; from the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, "Give," and to the south, "Do not refrain"; bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth." (Isaiah 43:5-6).
In the Talmud, at the end of tractate Ketubot, the Mishnah says: "A man may compel his entire household to go up with him to the Land of Israel, but may not compel one to leave." The discussion on this passage in the Mishnah emphasizes the importance of living in Israel: "One should always live in the Land of Israel, even in a town where the majority of inhabitants are idolaters, but let no one live outside the Land, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are Israelites; for whoever lives in the Land of Israel may be considered to have a God, but whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who has no God."
According to the traditional Jewish ordering of books of the Tanakh (Old Testament), the very last word of the last book in the original Hebrew (2 Chronicles 36:23) is veya'al, a jussive verb form derived from the same root as "Aliyah", meaning "and let him go up" (to Jerusalem in the Land of Israel).
As the tenth of Nisan occurs a few days before the Passover holiday, when Israeli schools are not in session, the school system will also honor Aliyah on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. That date is also symbolic as the Torah portion read in synagogues that week, Lekh Lekha, relates the story of how the biblical patriarch Abrahamis ordered by God to leave his home, his birthplace, and his family and go up to the Land of Israel. This is also the day that the additional prayer for rain is added into the Amidah, and recited three times a day by Jews in Israel.
Jay M. Shultz, President of the Am Yisrael Foundation, the driving force behind the creation of Yom HaAliyah, believes that the holiday will enable Jews "to connect the Biblical historical truth of Joshua crossing the Jordan to our modern practical reality...especially when Jews worldwide are celebrating Passover, and remembering the Exodus, they should take to heart that the final destination of leaving Egypt was entering the Land of Israel. The oft repeated phrase 'L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim - Next Year in Jerusalem' should not be said in vain. There has never been an easier time in history for a Jew to live in Israel. It is time for every Jew to come Home."
Out of Israel, Passover 2019 (Pesach) Passover 2019 will be celebrated from April 19-April 27, In Israel over on the 26th
Passover 2019 will be celebrated from April 19 - April 27.
The first Seder will be on April 19 after nightfall, and the second Seder will be on April 20 after nightfall.
Passover is celebrated by eating matzah (unleaven bread) and maror (bitter herbs).
For the duration of the 8 (or 7 days in Israel) of Passover, chametz (leaven) is strictly avoided.
The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 19 - April 27, 2019. Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.
In Hebrew it is known as Pesach (which means "to pass over"), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.
The Passover Story in a Nutshell
After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G‑d saw the people's distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: "Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me." But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G‑d's command. G‑d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.
At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G‑d spared the children of Israel, "passing over" their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh's resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G‑d's chosen people.
In ancient times the Passover observance included the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, which was roasted and eaten at the Seder on the first night of the holiday. This was the case until Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the 1st century.
The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night, and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. We don't go to work, drive, write, or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (click here for the details).
The middle four days are called Chol Hamoed, semi-festive "intermediate days," when most forms of work are permitted.
To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don't eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn't guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta, and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.
Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew (and bought back after the holiday).
The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover. It begins with a child asking the traditional "Four Questions."
A Passover Message
Passover, celebrating the greatest series of miracles ever experienced in history, is a time to reach above nature to the miraculous. But how are miracles achieved? Let's take our cue from the matzah. Flat and unflavored, it embodies humility. Through ridding ourselves of inflated egos, we are able to tap into the miraculous well of divine energy we all have within our souls.
12 Facts About the Month of Nissan Every Jew Should Know By Menachem Posner
1. Nissan Is in the Spring
Nissan is one of the few months mentioned in the Torah by name. G‑d refers to it as Chodesh HaAviv,1 the Month of Spring. Ensuring that Nissan remains in spring forms the backbone of the entire intricate Jewish calendar, including the leap year.
"This month shall be for you the first of the months,"2 G‑d told Moses. Curiously, it is one of four "heads of the year" listed in the Talmud,3 one of which is the first of Tishrei, known universally as Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year.
After 210 years of suffering in exile, G‑d took His nation out of Egypt. This took place in the month of Nissan. "He takes the prisoners out at the most opportune time,"4 says King David. According to the Midrash, Moses told the people: "See the lovingkindness that He bestowed upon you, that He took you out in a month in which it is suitable to go out, when there is neither heat nor cold nor rain."5
4. Passover Begins on the 15th
Passover, held annually on the anniversary of our Exodus, begins on the 15th of Nissan. Possibly the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, Passover is observed by eating matzah and maror (bitter herbs) and drinking four cups of wine, during a special meal called a Seder, in which we recount the gripping story of the miraculous Exodus.
Nissan is one of only two Jewish months whose names are also given names. Nissan is a fairly common name for boys, and Aviv and Aviva are fairly common male and female given names in Modern Hebrew. The only other month that is a name is Sivan, which is a common name for girls in Israel. Fun fact: Pesach (Passover) is the only Jewish holiday that is also given as a (male) name.
The word nes means "miracle," making Nissan a month of miracles. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, would say that seeing "Nissan" in a dream portends to "miracles of miracles" in the future.6
7. Education and Sharing Day Is in Nissan President Barack Obama presents a ceremonial copy of the "Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A." proclamation that he issued on March 31, 2015 to a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and educators from around the country. (Official White House Photo: Pete Souza)
To emphasize the vital role of education in society, the United States annually marks "Education and Sharing Day USA." Established in 1978 by a joint Congressional resolution, it is timed to coincide with Nissan 11, the anniversary of the Rebbe's birth in 1902.
8. There Is a Blessing to Be Said Over Fruit Trees
If one sees a budding fruit tree during the month of Nissan, there is a special blessing to be said: "Blessed are You … Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure." Many people visit botanical gardens during this time, so as to avail themselves of an opportunity to observe this beautiful mitzvah.
The sages say that the first day of Nissan of that year "took 10 crowns:" It was (1) the first day of the week; (2) the first day the princes brought their offerings; (3) the first day the Aaronic priesthood was put into effect; (4) the first day of the Temple sacrifices; (5) the first time a fire descended from heaven onto the altar; (6) the first time that sacred foods were eaten in the Tabernacle; (7) the first time that the Divine Presence rested amidst the people; (8) the first day the priests conferred the priestly blessing; (9) the first time it was forbidden to sacrifice to G‑d on ad hoc altars; and finally (10) it was the first month of the new year.7
10. The Princes Brought Sacrifices for 12 Days
Nearly a year after the Exodus, the Tabernacle—the traveling sanctuary that the people built for G‑d—was inaugurated in time for Nissan 1. On each of the first 12 days of the month, another of the 12 princes of Israel brought inauguration offerings. Now, on each of these days we read a special Yehi Ratzon prayer along with the Torah portion detailing the gifts brought on that day.
Because the first 12 days commemorate the joyous offerings of the princes, we don't say Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers. Neither do we say it during the festival of Passover. Since the majority of the month passes without saying Tachanun, we don't say it for the balance of the month, even after Passover.
In the current (fixed) Hebrew calendar, Nissan has 30 days, and the following month, Iyar, has 29. The months then continue to alternate until we reach Cheshvan and Kislev, which can each have either 29 or 30 days, depending on the year. Interestingly, the Talmud questions whether the Nissan of Exodus was 29 or 30 days long, which would open up the possibility that the Giving of the Torah (which was 50 days after the Exodus) was on a different day than it is currently observed on the holiday of Shavuot.
The Talmud (Berachot 57a) makes this assertion regarding Hebrew names that contain the letter nun twice, and the Rebbe extended this principle to Nissan as well. See Sichot Kodesh 5730 vol 1, page 670.
Why Do We Wash our Hands Twice at the Seder? By Yehuda Shurpin
We're used to washing our hands before making the hamotzi blessing at the beginning of a meal. However, at the Passover seder, we wash our hands twice: once before eating the karpas vegetable, and once before making the hamotzi on the matzah.
However, in deference to the more lenient opinion, we don't recite a blessing over this washing, lest we recite G‑d's name in vain.4
Why Wash If I Never Wash?
Many people don't wash their hands year-round before eating wet foods, presumably relying on the lenient opinion that this rule doesn't apply nowadays.5 Nevertheless, when it comes to the Passover Seder, everyone washes their hands before the karpas.
Why is this so? This dipping is more significant than other dippings during the year since it is done as part of the Seder and is therefore treated with more respect and stringency.6 Additionally, since this night is all about arousing questions, the very fact that we're doing something out of the ordinary lends itself to a question.7
Hands or Fork?
Technically, you only need to wash your hands if you will be eating the wet food with your hand (or it is a food ordinarily eaten by hand). Therefore, it is ideal to eat your karpas with your hands, thus warranting the washing that precedes it. Nevertheless, if for whatever reason you do use a fork, you still wash your hands.8
Thoughts on Redemption
At the Passover Seder, while we celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, we are cognizant of the fact that we are currently in a state of exile, and thus verbalize at the end of the Seder, "Next year in Jerusalem!" Perhaps this is why we are extra careful on this night to wash our hands, expressing our wish for the Temple to be rebuilt and the laws of purity to return to their rightful place in Jewish practice. Next year in Jerusalem!
by Yehuda Shurpin A noted scholar and researcher, Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin serves as content editor at Chabad.org, and writes the popular weekly Ask Rabbi Y column. Rabbi Shurpin is the rabbi of the Chabad Shul in St. Louis Park, Minn., where he resides with his wife, Ester, and their children. More from Yehuda Shurpin
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