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March 25, 1988 - Image 71

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-25

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A Toast
To Jewish Living


The Jewish Holiday of Liberation

Dr. Irving Panush is the director
of education at the Temple Kol Ami
Religious School and the author of
this month's L'Chayim theme —
Pesah and Yom HaShoah. For each
edition of L'Chayim, a rabbi, a
Jewish educator or other notable
from the community will present
an overview.

One of the most glorious and
significant holidays for Jews
throughout the world is Pesah. It is
known to us by four different
designations, each linked to the
other both in meaning and
relevance: Hag HaPesah, The
Passover Holiday; Hag HaMatzot,
The Holiday of Unleavened Bread;
Hag HeAviv, The Holiday of
Spring; and Zeman Heruteynu, The
Season of Our Liberation.
The Hebrews were miraculously
saved from extinction as slaves in
Egypt. They were liberated in the
spring in preparation for national
renewal and redemption. They
began celebrating their first
Passover in haste, on their way
toward nationhood.
The memory of the exodus from
Egypt has sunk deeply into our
national consciouness. It has
remained with us throughout the
centuries of survival, and is still a
constant reminder for personal and
national renewal of hope and
redemption. The dream of rebuilding
Zion remained with us throughout
our Diaspora years, and the State of
Israel was born out of that historic
dream for liberation and redemption.
Even though we all know the story
of the exodus from Egypt, we are
reminded by the rabbis in the
Haggada to tell and retell that
story to our children, namely: it is
for us, individually, that the
"outstretched arm of the Almighty"
was used in the historic process of
liberation. Those who magnify the
telling of this story are considered
praiseworthy. Why? Because they
Continued on L-2

Children Actively Participate In Seder Ritual

Administrator, Machon L'Torah,
Jewish Learning Network of
Director, Machon L'Torah, Jewish
Learning Network of Michigan

The holiday of Passover brings
to mind memories of grandparents,
gefilte fish, matza balls, lots of
singing, and, of course, the seder.
Behind the array of traditions and
customs, lies a central theme — to
commemorate the exodus of the
Jews from slavery in Egypt.

Passover, (Pesah in Hebrew)
derives its name from the account
in the Book of Exodus which
describes how God passed over the
homes of the Israelites in Egypt
during the Plague of the Firstborn.
By far, the most family-oriented
holiday, Passover with its seder,
holds the children in the center
spotlight. A closer look at the
Passover seder turns up some
interesting practices which deserve
a second look.
On four occasions during the
seder, a cup of wine is drunk. Why?
The basis for this custom is the four
times of redemption and freedom

which God promised Moses (Exodus
6:67). Each cup is like a toast to
freedom. The first cup also doubles
as the kiddush ceremony, which is
recited on each holiday. As an
additional symbol of "freedom," the
custom has become to have
someone else fill each cup for your
toast as would be with a noble
On the table sits a fifth cup —
the Cup of Elijah. This cup we do
not drink, rather we invite Elijah the
Prophet to visit our seder and
"partake." Some have the custom to
open the door of the home after the
Continued on L-2

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