April 8, 2022
Another week, another terrorist shooting in Israel. An attack in Tel Aviv yesterday claimed two lives and seriously injured four others. Six people escaped with light injuries. Just last week, I wrote about the death and injury toll from March, which included Jewish, Arab, and Christian victims. And now this. The current cycle of violence in Israel is so utterly devastating.
It should not be controversial (and yet it certainly will be) to say that the violence is, indeed, a cycle. 27 Palestinians were killed in March as well. As Jews who study and read Torah, it is incumbent on us to recognize the suffering of all people, created in God’s image, even as we rally around our own. Please, God, let human actors take action to stop the violence and bring peace to the land. Let’s remember at this time of year that redemption was a partnership between people and God – it took a great and visionary leader like Moses working in tandem with God to shift the paradigm. Would that we had such leaders now.
At the same time, all people of conscience, all around the world, are still trying to absorb the horrifying news from Ukraine of the depredations of the Russian army in Bucha and, as we are discovering, other places too. Echoes of Nazi horrors ring in our ears. How can this be happening in our world? And as we discover more and more about the atrocities that are being committed, it is fair to ask why the world is not taking immediate and decisive action. How many times do we need to learn this lesson? World leaders, including our own government, are dancing around a fire. The time has come to put out the flame.
Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln…
The main purpose of today’s message is to provide guidance for the upcoming holiday. Below you will find information and resources on rituals leading up to Passover and on kashering your kitchen, permitted foods, and so on. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Next week, there will be no Friday message from me, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a chag same’ach v’kasher – a happy and kosher Passover. I hope we can all enjoy time with our families around the seder table and let our people’s story of redemption reverberate in a way that spurs us to demand better from our world.
Shabbat shalom um’vorach – a peaceful and blessed Shabbat.
Rabbi Sam Levine
EMJC Guide to Passover 2022/5782
Here is some important information for the week leading up to Passover:
This Friday is a “personal” fast day for firstborn sons and, according to some rabbis, firstborn children in general. For information about the fast, (and to see if it applies to you) see this article:
There are many variations in practice, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
There is a widespread tradition that a joyous occasion overrides the obligation to fast. We will create a joyous occasion by having a brief study session that ends a tractate of Mishna of Talmud (a traditional celebration point). If you are a first-born child, please have some cake and a little schnapps with you next to your Zoom screen on Friday morning so that you may partake. The service begins at 8am as usual. The study session will be brief – 10 to 20 minutes, I imagine.
Selling Chametz – Must be done BEFORE 12:00 PM ET on Thursday, April 14, 2022
As a final (and crucial) precaution before the holiday begins, we must engage in the act of selling our chametz. Any chametz that remains in our homes can be temporarily sold to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday – it must be stored away somewhere in our home and separated from everything else; it does not belong to us for the 8 days of Passover. This legal transfer absolves you of having any chametz in your possession, since it’s not really your possession. You can sell your chametz by filling out the following form (this is done through the agency of Rabbi Mordy Schwartz of the Rabbinical Assembly): This form will not be available after 12:00 PM ET on Thursday, April 14, 2022
If you need help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Searching for and destroying Chametz
The rituals of bedikat chametz and bi’ur chametz (searching for and destroying chametz) take place on the night before the eve of Passover and the following morning. This year, the search for chametz takes place on Thursday night. On Friday morning, we burn the chametz (should be burned by noon at the latest). Both rituals are accompanied by blessings and declarations which can be found at the bottom of this document (“Bi’ur Chametz – Searching for Chametz”). You can buy a kit for bedikat chametz at ShopRite on McDonald Avenue or most stores in Midwood.
Latest time for eating chametz on Friday
If you must have that last bowl of Wheaties, 11am is your cut-off point. After that, any chametz in your home doesn’t belong to you and it would be considered stealing (from the person you sold your chametz to).
At the following link, you’ll find the 2022 Passover Guide from the Rabbinical Assembly. It’s full of useful information about kashering your home and which foods require a Passover hekhsher:
There is also an addendum for 5782 (this year) with info about COVID allowances and times for seders among other things:
And of course, you can always contact me at email@example.com.
Bi’ur Chametz – Searching for Chametz
Bedikat Chametz (checking for chametz)
Before the search make this blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al biur chametz
Praised are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us about removing chametz.
After the search recite the following (it is preferable to say it in English if you do not understand Aramaic):
Kol Chamira veChami’a deika birshuti, D’La Chamitei U’dla Bi’artei U’dla Yedana Lei Liv’teil Velehevei Hefker Ke’Afra De’Ar’ah.
All chametz and leaven in my possession that I have not seen and have not eliminated and don’t know about shall be nullified and become ownerless, like the dust of the earth.
Bi’ur Chametz (destroying the chametz)
There are several ways to perform biur chametz (ridding ourselves of chametz).
Burning: this is the traditional manner. Biur literally means “burning” and if you choose to destroy your chametz this way please do so responsibly!
Flushing it down the toilet
Crumbling it and scattering it to the wind
Disposing of it in a public waste receptacle
Bittul Chametz (nullification of the chametz)