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The Road to Pesah Observance

The laws and customs of Pesah are many and complicated, and to master them is a formidable task. For one already committed to traditional Jewish life, this task is an annual challenge to become a better Jew (not better than someone else, but better than one is at present). For many people, however, this mass of law may appear as an obstacle to Jewish life. In this area, as in other areas of Judaism, we should be guided by the principle of Rabbi Tarfon "you are not required to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it altogether (Avot 2:21). Thus, I would like to make some suggestions of simple steps one may take to enhance one's observance of Pesah.

l. Do not eat anything which is obviously hametz (i.e., bread or cake) during Pesah.

2. Hold a simplified seder: drink four cups of wine, eat some matzah and a bitter vegetable, and talk about the meaning of Pesah.

3. Attend at least one Festival service at the synagogue.

If you are already doing these things,

4. Remove all hametz from your possession.

5. Follow the traditional outline in your seder.

6. Take some time off for Pesah; make at least one day a real holiday.

If you are already doing these things,

7. Carefully examine all food which one will eat on Pesah to make sure that it is kosher for Passover.

8. Make two sedarim.

9. Observe as many as possible of the four Festival days as holidays.

In the Haggadah we read, "Even if we were all wise, experienced, and knowledgeable in the Torah, it would be a mitzvah for us to tell the story of the Exodus." Each of us, no matter how much or how little he know or does, should try to make Pesah a more significant Jewish experience for himself and his family.



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