Wining, Dining, and Reclining

From: Russell Dear Rabbi, Would you please discuss the mitzvah of reclining at the Seder meal? Dear Russell, While partaking of the four cups of wine, and the matza at the beginning of the meal, and the korech “sandwich” (of matza, maror, and charoset), and the afikomen matza at the end of the meal, one must do so in a reclining position. This may[…]

Prophets of Passover

From: Felice Dear Rabbi, Moses, Aaron and Miriam play such a central role in the Exodus. Are they featured in any way in the Haggada? Dear Felice, You are correct that all three siblings – Moses, Aaron and Miriam – brought about the Redemption from Egypt. This is as in the verse, “For I brought[…]

Temple Service

From: Harry Dear Rabbi, All the recent events regarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have peaked my interest as to what role the Temple played in our past. As the holiday of Passover approaches, could you perhaps describe what it was like in Temple times? Dear Harry, The number of people who went up to[…]

White Seder Night

From: Harry Dear Rabbi, What is the reason for wearing the white “kittel” at the Seder table on Passover night? Since we wear our festive best during the prayers, what’s the reason for changing into this relatively simple garment for the Seder? Dear Harry, Although it is a mitzva to adorn oneself on this night[…]

Passover Immersion

From: Nate Dear Rabbi, I am familiar with the custom to immerse in a mikva for Shabbat, and also for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. But is there such a custom for Passover? Dear Nate, The requirement to immerse in a mikva in preparation for the festivals is actually stronger than that for Shabbat. The[…]

Hiding Pieces

From: Brian Dear Rabbi, It seems to me that the reason we search for bread is to remove it from the house. So I’m a bit perplexed as to why we intentionally hide pieces of bread around the house before the search. Any insights? Dear Brian, The purpose of the search is certainly to find[…]

Matza Split

From: Laura Dear Rabbi, What is the reason that we split the middle matza on Passover. Normally, we’re so careful to use whole loaves for Shabbat and Holiday meals. Thanks for clarifying. Dear Laura, Before answering why we do the matza split, the point you make about whole loaves is exactly why we use three[…]

Passover Today

From: Megan Dear Rabbi, I am new to Jewish observance and am a bit confused about what to do at the Passover Seder. More accurately, I’m not sure which of the traditional observances apply or not, and why or why not. For example, I know there’s a mitzva to sacrifice a lamb for Passover, at[…]

Song of Songs

From: Jason Dear Rabbi, What is the reason for reciting Song of Songs on Passover. What’s the connection? Dear Jason, It is customary to read Song of Songs on the first night of Passover at the end of the Seder. In the Diaspora where the Seder is repeated on the second night, the reading of[…]

Red Wine

From: Rachel Dear Rabbi, Wine is used throughout the Jewish year for different occasions and for different purposes. It’s my understanding that any type and color of wine can be used for these different occasions. Is this so regarding the four cups at the Seder, or must they be red? Dear Rachel, The mitzva of[…]