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
In Israel and outside of Israel Thursday night, April 25th begins the last two days of Pesach -- a full-fledged holiday which extends through Saturday night, April 27th. The crossing of the Yam Soof, usually translated as the Red Sea, more correctly translated as "The Reed Sea" or "Sea of Reeds," took place on this day. And thus continued the 50 day journey through the desert working on self-perfection until receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai.
How do we begin to improve ourselves? It starts with seeing a need for change, then a decision to change -- and a plan. The problem: we're not in a hurry; we think we have plenty of time. What if you had a special clock on top of your television that was counting down the hours and minutes until you were to die? When would you get up, turn off the TV and do all the things that you planned to do, hoped to do or in passing thought about doing?
And what if in addition to your special clock, you had a special bank account where every morning you were credited in your bank account with $86,400 dollars on condition that you had to spend it all or lose it? What would you do? Spend it!! Well, you do have a special bank account called the Bank of Time! Each day you have exactly 86,400 seconds. What you don't invest wisely is written off each night. You can reap dividends, but you can't go into overdraft!
One has to value his time and know that it is limited in order to change. The Sephirat HaOmer period which started last night is about valuing time and about changing.
Love Yehuda Lave
The camel's nose is in the tent
There is an old saying, originating in the Middle East, that if you allow the nose of a camel into your tent, soon its entire body will enter and possess it.
Nancy Pelosi's craven rush to appoint the Somali Muslim immigrant, Ilhan Omar (D. MN) to the highly sensitive House Foreign Affairs Committee allowed Omar the opportunity to spew Islamic hatred against both America and Israel. The Camel's nose is indeed now in the Congressional tent.
Omar, along with Rashida Tlaib (D. MI) are two Muslim ingrates who were given sanctuary and freedom in America – Omar from the hell of Somalia and Tlaib from the repressive and corrupt Palestinian Authority. They are joined with a rag bag of Socialists and Muslim radicals poisoning Congress and attacking our Judeo-Christian civilization, which has been the bedrock of America and the underpinning of our increasingly beleaguered Constitution.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has proven again and again that she is unfit to serve the American people and does not represent our values As reported by Act for America, "while speaking at an event for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a designated terrorist group, Rep. Omar made a false and grossly offensive statement claiming that CAIR was founded post-9/11, because they recognized that some people did something.
"First and foremost, CAIR was not founded after the Islamic terror attack upon us on 9/11. It was actually founded 7 years earlier in 1994."
Omar arrogantly dismissed the horror of 9/11, and the culpability of its Muslim perpetrators, as if the horror was of little or no consequence. As Act for America also pointed out: "The fact is, 9/11 was the largest and most deadly terrorist attack on American soil in United States history. Nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives to 19 Islamic terrorists on that tragic and infamous day."
How utterly detestable then that this Muslim ingrate, Ilhan Omar, who was so dishonorably rushed into the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee by the lamentable Democrat Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, should so immediately insult the American people by dismissing out of hand the atrocity of 9/11. She has no business being in Congress or on any Committee.
Remember this is the same Ilhan Omar who flaunts her hijab as a paean to Islamic triumphalism and who recently refused to condemn Hamas terrorists for deliberately firing missiles into Israel and destroying homes of civilians. And what of Rashida Tlaib who took the occasion, on the day she was sworn into office to represent Michigan, to wrap herself in the flag of an enemy of the United States, the flag of the so-called Palestinian authority. Is this loyalty to America?
Omar and Tlaib immediately took the occasion of their entry into Congress to spew their hoary old Arab anti-Israel propaganda, including pejoratively describing Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria as "settlements" in what they deceitfully call "occupied Palestinian territory."
Judea and Samaria, also incorrectly called "the West Bank," is the ancestral Jewish heartland whose Biblical and post-Biblical history spans millennia. It is not "occupied Palestinian territory." But then these two hijab wearing hatemongers, Omar and Tlaib, while endlessly spewing anti-Israel propaganda, continue to defend many of the worst inhumane passages found in the Koran. They are, alas, programed to do so from birth.
Today's Israel and Jordan, were part of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 until 1917. After the end of WWI, the League of Nations agreed to set aside this portion of the former Ottoman territory to be held in trust by Britain to become a national home for the Jewish people.
The British Colonial Office, however, in 1922, soon after being entrusted by the League of Nations with the newly formed Palestine Mandate, arbitrarily tore away from the Mandate the huge area east of the River Jordan and gave it away to Abdullah bin Hussein. This territory consisting of 80% of the Mandate was called Trans-Jordan and eventually became the present day Kingdom of Jordan. The remaining mere 20% of the land that was left west of the Jordan River and between the Mediterranean, a width of some 40 miles including Judea and Samaria, was all that remained for an eventual Jewish state.
The British, hoping to ease endemic Arab violence against the Mandate, which expressed itself against both Jews and the British rulers, further abandoned their responsibility to the Jewish people and tried to throttle Jewish immigration, before, during and after the Holocaust. At the same time, British officials had averted their gaze and allowed thousands of illegal Arabs from the surrounding stagnant Arab states to flood into the Mandated territory.
In November 1947, the UN – which had assumed the obligations of the League of Nations – passed a resolution (UNGA 181) recommending the partition of the Mandate into a Jewish and Arab state. That would be a second partition of the original land set aside for a Jewish state and the hyperlink is from my original American Thinker article from 2009. It is now 97 years since that first and infamous partition took place and 72 years since UN Resolution 181, which the Arabs rejected and brought years of misery and terror.
The Palestinian Jews reluctantly accepted this truncated state as a desperately needed refuge for the surviving Jewish remnant after the Holocaust, and also for the 800,000 Jewish refugees in 1947/48 who were being cruelly driven from their ancient homes throughout the Arab world. These are the Jewish refugees that few in the world ever discuss.
Israel was reborn in 1948. but the Arabs and the Arab League, however, wanted all the territory to be under Arab sovereignty and rejected the resolution, choosing instead to wage a war of genocide against the fledgling and impossibly small and nearly indefensible Jewish state. Miraculously tiny Israel defeated the combined armies and might of seven Arab countries.
A great book, The Bible as History, written by the Christian writer, Werner Keller, proves – as if proof was needed – that the Muslim Arabs have no claim to the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Another book, also by a Christian writer, Joan Peters, titled "From Time Immemorial" shatters and debunks the Arab propaganda that millions of people have sadly come to believe in. Her book attests to the unassailable, millennial and spiritual attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and to all the land west of the River Jordan; especially Biblical Judea and Samaria.
One of our most beloved presidents was Ronald Reagan who, early in his presidency, gave a talk in which he declared unequivocally, "Israel and Jordan are the two Palestinian states envisioned and authorized by the United States." Reagan also confirmed and said: "Jordan is now recognized as sovereign in some 80 percent of the old territory of Palestine."
What Reagan was saying was something that every historian of the Middle East and every so-called "expert" on Israel knows but sadly are too often afraid to say because of virulent Muslim and Arab propaganda, often laced with personal threats: It is that the artificial state created by the British Colonial Office in 1922, and now called Jordan, sits upon 80% of what was the original geographical territory of Palestine.
No such kingdom called Jordan ever previously existed, just as no sovereign independent state called Palestine has ever existed throughout all of recorded history. Jordan is today's Palestine.
President Reagan understood that the demand to create yet another "Palestinian state" in ancestral and Biblical Jewish Judea and Samaria would reduce what's left of the Jewish state to an indefensible country a mere nine miles wide. Can any of us imagine living in a state only nine miles wide surrounded by savage and hate-filled neighbors?
But even this would not satisfy the likes of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. No, they want to use their insidious power and influence within Congress to first destroy Israel. Then they will work from inside, allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, to destroy America by strengthening the creeping stealth jihad. We must not allow that.
While the first Seder night garners much of the attention and fanfare, Jews living in the diaspora actually observe an additional Seder on the second evening of Passover. The practice of extending every biblical holiday (except for Yom Kippur) for another day originates from the era before the calendar was set, a time when the Jewish lunar calendar was determined when the new moon was sighted. However, even after the advent of the fixed calendar, this law was not abolished. As the Talmud writes:
The sages sent [word] to the exiles, 'Be careful to keep the customs of your forefathers, and keep two days of the festival, for someday the government may promulgate a decree, and you will come to err.'1
The third Chabad Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, quotes Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, the Ramak, who puts forth an explanation based on the inner dimension of the Torah: the diaspora, unlike the land of Israel, is unable to receive the spiritual emanations of the festivals in a single day; therefore, the festival is spread over two days.2
It may be inconvenient, but the timing of many mitzvahs—including those observed on the Seder night—is an integral component to their fulfillment. If performed at the incorrect time, one's obligation is not fulfilled. As such, it is imperative that all the rituals of the Seder be observed after nightfall.3
3. Newsflash: There Is Good Wine Available for the Four Cups!
For many, the Seder has been defined by the historical limits of the kosher wine industry. For our parents and grandparents, not much was on offer beyond sweet, rectangular bottles of Manischewitz. However, in the last couple of decades, due to the explosion of the kosher wine industry, the choice for consumers has never been better. Head to your local wine store or kosher market for advice on the best wines for the Seder. (Or shop online if there is no kosher wine available in local stores.)
4. You Do Not Need to Read Hebrew (But It Sure Is Nice if You Can)
That's right. The mitzvah is to tell the story of our nation's Exodus from Egypt to your children. If you and your kids are fluent in Hebrew, by all means, tell the story in Hebrew. If, however, your family is more familiar with English (or Mandarin), go ahead and tell the story in the language they do understand.
5. The Four Questions Actually Need to Be Answered
After the kids ask the Four Questions, there is a tendency for the adults to move swiftly on, eager to delve into the depths of the Haggadah text (or to get to dinner). However, throughout the recitation of the Haggadah, we must continue to engage the children, have them ask more questions and invite them to share their thoughts and ideas. After all, this is their night, as the Torah commands, "And you shall tell your son on that day."4
For some, the Seder feels like a long ordeal of too much Hebrew and not enough food. However, with a little preparation, the Seder can be a fun, enlightening and memorable experience for children and adults.
7. Passover and Pesach Are Exactly the Same Holiday
Passover is the English translation of the Hebrew word Pesach (פסח), meaning "to skip or pass over." The source of this name is in the story of the Exodus: when G‑d wrought the final of the 10 Plagues—the Death of the Firstborns—upon the Egyptians, G‑d "passed over" the Israelites to strike only the Egyptians.5 There are, in fact, two additional names given for this festival, Chag HaMatzot (the Festival of Matzahs) and Zeman Cherutenu (the Time of Our Freedom).
8. "Gluten Free" and "Kosher for Passover" Are Not Synonymous
It may be easy to assume that "gluten free" denotes "kosher for Passover." This, in fact, is not the case. Certain oat products, for example, are gluten free but would not be kosher for Passover. Additionally, for something to be considered kosher for Passover, any cooking utensils used must also be kosher for Passover. Simply put, the halachic requirements for food to be kosher for Passover are far more complex and varied than the FDA's requirements for gluten free.
9. Cleaning the House Is Not Enough
Sure, you need to scrub away any vestiges of chametz (leavened food) from your home, but did you know that you're not even allowed to own chametz? That's right, even if it is in a deep, dark closet in the basement. The solution is to store away and then sell any chametz for the duration of the holiday. Arranging the sale can be complex, so you should authorize a rabbi to sell your chametz for you. After the holiday, the rabbi will arrange for the chametz to be sold back.
10. There's More to Passover Than the Seders
There's more to Passover than the two Seder nights. In fact, Passover lasts for a full 8 days (7 days in the Land of Israel), during which we keep our chametz-free diet. The last two days, which follow four intermediate days, are known as Shvii shel Pesach ("Seventh of Passover") and Acharon shel Pesach ("Last of Passover"), respectively. The theme of the first of these two days is the parting of the Sea of Reeds, which occurred in the early hours of the morning of the seventh day. The eighth day is associated with the future redemption. Indeed, the Baal Shem Tov taught that on the final day of Passover, a glimmer of the ultimate redemption is revealed. As the holiday fades, we have the custom to again drink four cups of wine, this time looking to the future.
The Zohar refers to matzah as the "bread of healing and faith." Matzah, consisting of just two ingredients—flour and water—and not given a chance to rise, is the simplest of foods. It recalls our journey into the desert equipped with faith alone, arrival time unknown. Faith sustained us. When performing a command of G‑d, we draw down emanations of His Divine light. Since this is the only mitzvah we physically ingest, we are utterly consumed by this process, enabling us to experience a faith that brings to healing.