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5 items regarding the special days ahead

קריעת ים סוף
ציור: יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. This evening the "Seventh of Pesach" holiday begins. On Seder night, we celebrated the Exodus from Egypt, and on the Seventh of Pesach, one week later, we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea.

2. Our commentators explain that Pesach is less about the past than it is about our ability to free ourselves from the enslaving constrictions of the present. So too the Seventh of Pesach reminds us of our ever-present capacity to split the sea and emerge from situations where all seems lost. Pharaoh and the Egyptian army are on one side and the Red Sea is on the other, but then suddenly the sea begins to split. It's possible. This is the kind of moment to believe in, and to pray for, the splitting of the Red Sea in our own lives in so many different areas.

3. On this holiday we read the beautiful Torah passages in the "Song of the Sea." We marvel at the fact that the nation of Israel did not only rejoice at the splitting of the Red Sea, but also knew how to elevate those miraculous moments through a song whose message is eternal.

4. And immediately after the holiday (in Eretz Yisrael), Shabbat arrives. In the synagogue on Shabbat morning we read the weekly Torah portion, parashat Achrei Mot, in which there is a description of what happens after the tragic death of two of the sons of Aharon HaCohen. The parasha commands us to sanctify life and to persevere and, among other matters, it instructs us regarding worship in the Holy Temple and the details of the Yom Kippur service at that time.

5. And on Motzei Shabbat, when Pesach and Shabbat are over for everyone, Moroccan families, but not only them, celebrate the Mimouna, a festival of faith and hospitality. Incidentally, there is an Ashkenazic version of this day: "Rumpelnacht" (chaos night). This is the night when Ashkenzic Jews put away their Pesach utensils and return chametz utensils to the kitchen.

In any case: Chag Sameach, Shabbat shalom, and may you enjoy a soft landing back into everyday life.


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