© 2019 by Rabbi David Paskin

JPaL is a program of Temple Sinai of North Dade
Call Us: 305-932-9012   /   rabbi.david@tsnd.org   /  18801 NE 22nd Ave, Miami, FL 33180

Enduring Understandings:

You will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

I can explain the meaning and significance of the Passover symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on two ritual items - the הַגָּדָה and מַצָּה.

הַגָּדָה

 

The הַגָּדָה, which means “telling” in Hebrew, is a written guide to the סֵדֶר, which commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt. The הַגָּדָה includes various prayers, blessings, rituals, fables, songs and information for how the סֵדֶר should be performed. Although modern הַגָּדוֹת (the plural of הַגָּדָה) can vary widely, the tradition of reading a book to guide the seder dates back to the Middle Ages, and some of the elements that make up contemporary הַגָּדוֹת were used 2,000 years ago.

Today, you can even make your own הַגָּדָה. Check out this cool website that allows you to customize your very own הַגָּדָה.

מַצָּה

Unleavened bread was one of the foods the Jews in Egypt were commanded to eat along with the paschal lamb (Exodus 12:8). To remember that first סֵדֶר meal, and how quickly the Israelites had to leave Egypt — giving them no time to allow their bread to rise — we eat מַצָּה at the סֵדֶר (and instead of bread throughout the holiday).

At the beginning of the סֵדֶר, we break one of the sheets of מַצָּה and call it the bread (לֶחֶם) of affliction (עֹנִי). It is the meager food of slaves, the quickly produced food of those who make a hurried, under-cover-of-dark getaway. Yet later, it represents freedom, the bread we ate when we were freed from Egyptian slavery.

Create an infomercial about one of the symbols of Passover. Imagine you are trying to sell this symbol. You'll need to talk all about its function, when it is used, how it is used and why it is valuable.

I can describe the big ideas of Passover and can draw connections to my life

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for פֶּסַח. Using all you've learned about these holy days - what would you say are the BIG ideas of פֶּסַח?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

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I can recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

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Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

I can use appropriate Passover vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for this חַג. You know the names of this חַג in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the holiday greetings. When you speak about this חַג with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to פֶּסַח:

Holiday Names

פֶּסַח - Passover

חַג הָאָבִיב - The Spring Festival

Holiday Greetings

חַג שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Holidays

Holiday Symbols

כּוֹס יַיִן - Cup of Wine

מַצָּה - Matzah
מָרוֹר - Bitter Herb

כַּרְפַּס - Green Vegetable

חֲרֹסֶת - Charoset

קְעָרָה - Seder Plate
סֵדֶר - Seder

הַגָּדָה -Haggadah

Write a children's book complete with illustrations using the holiday vocabulary above. If you do your best work - we might just read your book in our Pre-School program!

I can express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the Passover symbols and of selected t'fillot

Let's take a closer look at one of the תְּפִלּוֹת we say on פֶּסַח. 

The Four Questions

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין

These are called the four questions but look more closely...how many questions are there really? Some people say there's 1 question with four answers. Others say there are four questions and still others say there is one big question with four smaller questions underneath? How many questions do you see? Why do you think asking questions is such a big part of פֶּסַח and being Jewish in general?

Pair up with another student who is still learning the Four Questions and teach them how they are said and what they mean.

I can draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of Passover and the Passover narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on פֶּסַח. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

 

In many ways, the סֵדֶר isn't about telling the story of פֶּסַח - it's about re-living it! It would be one thing to just read about the Israelites escape from Egypt like a good novel, but we re-enact the whole story: We eat the מַצָּה that they ate, we recline when we drink each cup of wine, and we sing songs of freedom and thanksgiving just like the Israelites did when the crossed the sea. 

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of פֶּסַח. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holiday?

I can express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of Passover

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from פֶּסַח. Here are two of them: 

חֵרוּת

 

חֵרוּת means "Freedom." פֶּסַח may be the holiday when we remember our freedom from slavery but it is also an opportunity to think about all those who are still, today, not free.

According to www.freetheslaves.net, there are millions of people around the world who are considered slaves. It isn’t legal anywhere but happens almost everywhere—including Europe and the U.S. Slaves are forced to work, without pay, under the threat of violence. 

How can our story of slavery inspire you to do something about slavery in the world today? Check out these suggestions of what we can do to abolish slavery. Which speaks to you? 

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מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים

 

מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים means "feeding the hungry." We learned about this when we were celebrating פּוּרִים and it's just as important on פֶּסַח. 

We begin our סֵדֶר by saying “All who are hungry, come and eat!” This is a reminder that even while there is a feast in front of us, our neighbors are hungry.  Our journey to freedom must include our neighbors.  We can never truly be free until each and every one of us is food secure.

 

One simple way to help feed the hungry is to change the way we clean for פֶּסַח. Many people clean their homes before פֶּסַח getting rid of all of their חָמֵץ. Unfortunately, much of this food gets thrown out.

 

What could we do with all that חָמֵץ instead of wasting it? What other ways can we be inspired by פֶּסַח to feed the hungry?