MARCH 2021 NEWSLETTER
ADAR / NISSAN 5781
~ PASSOVER SECOND NIGHT SEDER ~
Sunday, March 28
Once again, Second Night Passover seder service will be available thru Zoom only. ''Seder Meal in a Box'' will be available this year and again will be prepared by Bernstein's Catering. The cost is $25 for each meal, and you MUST pre-order if you wish to have a boxed dinner. All orders must be received no later than Monday, March 22. The menu will be the same as in years past, and you may contact the Temple office with the number of boxed meals you would like. We will keep you informed as to pickup details.
Enjoy seder this year in the comfort of your own home but plan to connect thru Zoom for the service.
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
A SEASONAL MINOR FACTOID WITH MAJOR IMPLICATIONS
With Purim behind us, our Jewish focus turns once again to preparing for Passover, which this year begins on Saturday night, March 27 (first seder). Note: due to circumstances being pretty much the way they were last year at Passover, our second night Temple seder will once again be a Zoom seder on Sunday night, March 28. But whether seders are ''Zoomed'' or in person, the preparatory practice of getting rid of the chametz (any food with the potential of leavening, not just bread) in our houses remains.
After the Temple was destroyed in the year 70 CE, the biblical commandment to eat the paschal lamb in family groups was suspended, and the ritual of the Passover seder was created by our Sages as a substitute. Thus, the removal of chametz and the eating of matzah are the only Passover rituals that have been consistently observed by Jews since biblical times. The sources for these two rituals are found in Exodus 12:
- Seven days you shall eat matzah, but on the previous day you shall remove leavened food from your houses, for whoever eats leavened food from the first day to the seventh day - that person shall be cut off from Israel. (v. 15)
- In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat matzah until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening. For seven days, leavened food may not be found in your houses, for anyone who eats leavened food - that soul shall be cut off from the assembly of Israel, whether a stranger or a native of the land. You shall not eat any leavened food; in all your dwellings you shall eat matzah. (vv. 17-20)
The standard explanation for eating only matzah and refraining from chametz during Passover is to remember that the dough our ancestors prepared on their way out of Egypt did not leaven. Curiously, this isn't mentioned until several verses later; it is not actually connected to the commandment itself. Moreover, the commandment to observe future Passovers by removing chametz and eating only matzah seems to have been given before the Israelites actually left, even before the bread-baking process had begun.
So, might there be another explanation as to why this strict prohibition against eating or possessing chametz is THE way we commemorate our leaving Egypt? It may have to do with the association of ''Egypt'' with bread and the bread-baking process itself. In his article ''The Rise and Fall of Sourdough: 6,000 Years of Bread'' (shared by my friend and colleague, Rabbi Sam Rothberg), Dr. Eric Pallant, Professor of Environmental science at Allegheny College, states:
The first large scale use of bread was in Ancient Egypt. In the years of the Old Kingdom of Egypt (2650-2134 BCE), when pyramids were rising like urban high-rises during a real estate boom, we have the first archaeological evidence of largescale bread production and probably sourdough domestication. While we cannot be certain what recipes Egyptians were using, the production of bread and beer to feed tens of thousands of laborers gives rise to some interesting speculation about the quantity of grain that must have been produced, and the number of bakers it must have taken to keep an army of contractors stuffed with bread and stoked on beer.
Other scholars have noted that the making of beer was an offshoot of breadmaking, by a process still in use in the Sudan today: wheat, barley or millet is coarsely ground and ¼ of it was soaked and left in the sun for a while (sound familiar?), while the rest was formed into loaves and lightly baked, so as not to destroy the enzymes. The loaves are crumbled and mixed with the soaked grain that had been left to ferment. Water and some beer are added, and the mixture left to further ferment. When fermentation is complete, the liquid is strained. Instead of hops, dates are used as a flavoring agent (cf. AncientEgyptianfacts.com. A related article is https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/how-did-ancient-egyptians-bake-after-54-loaves-scholar-finds-answers-659163).
Thus, if bread and beer were indeed such an essential part of Egyptian life and culture, it is not surprising that an observance that celebrated abandoning that life and culture would focus on refraining from that which was so closely identified with them.
Put another way: An authentic exodus to freedom meant not only taking the Jews out of Egypt, but also taking Egypt out of the Jews.
The first part was accomplished. After almost 4000 years, the second part remains a challenge.
Here's wishing all of you a kosher and uplifting Pesach!
- Rabbi Cary Kozberg
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
- In honor of my husband Ray's yahrzeit from Char Schiff
- In honor of the yahrzeit for my father Henry Ennis from Barbara Willens
- In honor of the yahrzeit for my father Sam Friedman from Jay and Kitty Friedman
RABBI'S DISCRETIONARY FUND
- In appreciation for Zoom Memorial Service from Bobbi Mugfordbr
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
MAR 5: Lilly Broock, Pauline H. Broock, Etta M. Herron, Leah G. Klein, Samuel Kossoff, Leonard Levy, Sol (Babe) Padlow, Sarah Steingart, Charles Zitsman, Eunice Poliakoff Draisen (mother of Bernice Goldman), Paul Dulaney (father of Paulette Grodner), Antonio Espinoza (father of Rose Weiss), Sharon Friedman, Bruce Kranebr
MAR 12: Jacob Arnovitz, Charles Flack (father of Sanford), Abe Gardner, Seymour Romanoff, Isidore Farber, Tim R. Flack (brother of Sanford), Marie Buerki Rider, Charlotte Turyn (mother of Larry)br
MAR 19: Celia Barnett, Sam Broock, Sam Friedman (father of Jay), Jennie Schneider, Jennie W. Gold Ullman, Zedia Mae Fludd, Max Goldman (father of Lloyd), Bessie Luriebr
MAR 26: Milton N. Bernstein, Julius Endelman, Mildred Frand Fine, Emilie Frankenstein, Anne Klein, Leon Maybruck, Joseph S. Meyer, Andrew Raoul Nathan, David Mario Nathan, Paul Nathan, Annabelle Sachs Smith, Fanny Soble, Wolf Zitsman, Ethel Cohn, Michael Miller, Eric B. Stein, M.D. (brother of Leslie Buerki)
APR 2: Fannie Dagan, Hazel G. Meyer, Goldie Pommer, Charlotte M. Salzer, Mary Schuman, Louis A. Shatsky, Celia Roth Travis, Ida P. Zitsman, Hyman Draisen (father of Bernice Goldman), Ben Irwin (father of Stephanie Paugh), Blanche Stillpass (mother of Phyllis Nedelman), Sylvia Harton Wolf (mother of Fran Rickenbach)
The family of Arlene Kaufman Pemberton, who passed away on February 19 in Columbus OH.
--May her memory be for a blessing