Food For the Soul
The Seventh Day of Passover
On the Seventh Day of Passover we read how on this day the sea split for the Children of Israel and drowned the pursuing Egyptians, and the “Song at the Sea” sung by the people upon their deliverance (Exodus 13:17-15:26). Why did the Israelites have to pass through the Red Sea when the route from Egypt to Israel is directly through the desert? In describing the Exodus, the verse tells us that G-d did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, which was close by, because G-d said, The people might reconsider when they see war, and return to Egypt. Nevertheless, the biblical story is meant to provide us a lesson for our personal lives.
The earth is comprised of oceans and continents, sea and dry land. On dry land, all is open and visible. The sea, on the other hand, is a big blue expanse of mystery. Though the sea is teeming with life, when you look at it you can identify nothing; all is hidden beneath the surface. So it is with a person. Our personality has two layers: our sea and our land. What we know of ourselves—these comprise the “dry land” of our personality. But below the surface of our character lies a vast sea of latent talents, inner strengths and untapped abilities that we never knew we had. How can we access this reservoir of potential? There is only one way. And we know it from the encounter at the Red Sea.
The Israelites had their back to the wall: Egyptians closing in on one side, a raging sea threatening on the other. But faith demanded that they keep marching to the Promised Land. It was at that moment, when hopelessness was countered by faith, that the impossible happened, and the sea opened up to become dry land. The most formidable obstacle dissolved into nothingness, without a struggle, just with faith. The people became empowered exactly when they acknowledged G-d as the only true power. By surrendering themselves to a higher force, they discovered the force within them. They split their own sea. The Jewish people are no strangers to times of challenge. At the very birth of our nation, we needed to learn how to face these challenges. So G-d took us on a detour to the sea and opened it up for us. He was telling every Jew for all times: Obstacles are not interruptions to the journey; they are the journey. Keep marching towards the Promised Land. Every challenge along the way will give you deeper insight and renewed power. Just have faith. It will split your sea.
From an article by Rabbi Aron Moss
The Eighth Day of Passover
23 April (Shabbat) is the Eighth day of Passover. On this day we read Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17. Like the reading for the second day, it catalogs the annual cycle of festivals, their special observances, and the offerings brought on these occasions to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The Eighth Day’s special connection with the Future Redemption is reflected in the Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) for this day—Isaiah 10:32-12:6. Yizkor, the remembrance prayer for departed parents, is recited today after the morning reading of the Torah.
Friday, April 22, 2022 (21 Nissan, 5782): Light Shabbat/Holiday candles at 7:32 from a pre-existing flame.
Saturday, April 23, 2022 (22 Nissan, 5782): Shabbat/Holiday ends at 8:39 PM
Mind Over Matter
The Light Forever
At the threshold of liberation, darkness filled the land of Egypt. Yet in the homes of those to be liberated, there was only light. Light is our true place and light is our destiny. As dawn approaches, darkness shakes heaven and earth in the final throes of its demise. But those who belong to light and cleave to it with all their hearts have nothing to fear. Even as they fall into the deepest caverns where no stone glimmers, no path yields promise, and all meaning seems unfathomable, even there that light will lead them. It will reveal to them the treasures that lie there, that they must rescue for their own liberation.
All is truly light. For darkness is created to vanish, but light is forever.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
The last day of Passover (“Acharon Shel Pesach”) is particularly associated with Moshiach and the future redemption. The Haftarah (reading from the Prophets) for this day is from Isaiah 11, which describes the promised future era of universal peace and divine perfection. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of partaking of a “Moshiach’s meal” on the afternoon of the last day of Passover. In addition to the matzah eaten at “Moshiach’s meal”, the Rebbes of Chabad added the custom of drinking four cups of wine, as in the seder held on Passover’s first days.
Have I Got A Story
Eulogies For The Living
The funeral was in progress and the rabbi was talking at length about the good traits of the deceased. “What an honest man, what a loving husband, and a kind father. So generous, so loving, so kind…”
The widow leans over and whispers to one of her children, “Go up there and take a look in the coffin. See if that’s your dad.”
It seems there’s always so much good to say about those who have departed – their accomplishments and good deeds, wisdom and grace, generosity and unconditional love.
But wasn’t the deceased, like all others, a human being, a creature presented with challenges who likely made mistakes? Did you really think that he was so perfect yesterday? What of his failures and bad habits, his ego and lusts? What of the times he lost his temper? Of this, you don’t hear a word.
So you ask: Has this human being become an angel upon leaving this physical world?
There is a famous jest regarding the sequence of weekly Torah portions: Acharei Mot (“after the death”), Kedoshim (“holy ones”), and Emor (“say”). When read as a single sentence, it would roughly translate as: “After the death, say that he was holy.”
Are we shutting our lips because we are frightened to start up with the spirits of the deceased, lest they visit in the middle of the night and whip us with sticks of fire?
I don’t think so. It isn’t the departed individual who changes; we change.
During the person’s lifetime, we get lost in the details. But when death strikes, we have the chance to study the kaleidoscope, the bigger picture, with utmost clarity. And at that point, we discover – a bit too late – the beautiful life led by the deceased.
So, here is the question: Do people need to die in order for us to appreciate them? Do we, G-d forbid, need to lose someone before we can truly find him? Must “beloved husband, father and brother” be a postmortem adage, or can we announce it throughout his lifetime as well?
Let us make up while our family member is living, and not with their tombstone.
Let us forgive people, not spirits. Let’s see the good in each other now.
Rabbi Levi Avtzon