Search by Candlelight

From: Marcell Dear Rabbi, Must the search for chametz before Passover be done only with a candle?  If so, why? If not, what else can be used? Thanks. Dear Marcell, The search for chametz is performed by the light of a single candle. A torch which has many wicks, or a large flame, may not[…]

Seder Order

From: Joshua Dear Rabbi, I understand “Seder” means order, but I must admit, I find it very difficult to understand the order of the Seder. Could you please outline what it’s all about? Dear Joshua, You’re not the only one who has trouble seeing the order in the Seder. In fact, part of the Seder[…]

Removing Chametz

From: Moshe Dear Rabbi, Is it not enough to refrain from eating bread on Passover? Why do we make such an effort to remove bread products from our homes? Dear Moshe, Even if one fulfills all the mitzvot associated with Passover like eating matza and maror, telling the story of the Exodus in the Haggada,[…]

Month of Redemption

From: Carla Dear Rabbi, If G‑d told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved in Egypt but would be redeemed, then why did He exile them there in the first place? Dear Carla, This question is related to the essence of the month of redemption itself, Nisan. One who experiences redemption has emerged from darkness[…]

The Four Cups

From: Marsha Dear Rabbi, Would you please fill me in on the significance of the four cups at the Passover Seder? Dear Marsha, It is a mitzva to drink four cups of wine during the Seder at specific points in the Haggada: One for kiddush, one for the mitzva of haggada (the retelling of the[…]

Pesach, Matza and Maror

From: Helen in the U.K. Dear Rabbi, What is the significance of the statement of Raban Gamliel in the Haggada that one who has not said “Pesach, Matza and Maror” has not fulfilled his obligation? If this is referring to the requirement to tell the Passover story to one’s children, how does the mention of[…]

Incomplete Hallel

From: Barry in Seattle Dear Rabbi, Why do we read the complete hallel for only the first day of Passover but not the rest of the holiday? I think this is different than on Chanuka when we read the complete hallel for the entire holiday. Weren’t the miracles that occurred regarding Passover greater than Chanuka?[…]

Fast of the Firstborns

From: Charles in Melbourne Dear Rabbi, What is the fast of firstborns and why is it done? Dear Charles, It is customary for Jewish firstborns to fast during the day of the Eve of Passover. It commemorates the miracle that saved the Jewish firstborns from the plague that slew all the firstborns in Egypt the[…]

Machine Matza

From: Debra Dear Rabbi, What is the difference between hand-made and machine-made matza? Dear Debra, Since the Exodus, Jews have zealously carried out all the fine details concerning the baking of the matza, whose method has remained basically unchanged for all those years. Careful and agile hands have performed each process from making the dough[…]

Names for the Month

From: Mark Dear Rabbi, I have heard that the names for the months of the year are not from the Torah but rather were acquired during one of the exiles, so that Nisan is not the ‘real’ name of the month. What then is the Torah’s name for the month that Passover is in, and[…]