Bringing Back the Broken Pieces: The Afikoman and its return to the table

March 23, 2017

Taken from The Night That Unites Passover Haggadah
Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach asks, ‘why do the children bring back the broken piece of matzah at the end of the Seder? The afikoman, the broken matzah represents the brokenness in the world. There are so many broken hearts…broken many tears. But do you know who will fix the world? Do you know who will bring wholeness to the world again? Our children. Our children will bring back the broken piece to make the world whole again.

Mayor of Efrat Oded Revivi thanks Lenny Ben-David for American Interests in the Holy Land

March 17, 2017

American Interests Oded Revivi.jpg

“This morning I received a complimentary copy of the book “American Interests in the Holy Land – Revealed in Early Photographs from 1840 – 1940″, signed by the author, Lenny Ben David, a resident of Efrat. Can’t wait to read the history of the period and judging by the pictures, it looks like a fascinating book. Lenny, thank you very much.”

(Posted by Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat)

On the Fifteen Steps of the Passover Seder, from Rav Kook:

March 16, 2017



Taken from The Night That Unites Passover Haggadah
Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook teaches that the 15 steps of the Seder are to be viewed as rungs in a ladder and are intended to to move us toward a spiritual ascent on the night of Passover. He was once asked, “Who is on a greater spiritual level, a person on a low rung or on a high rung of the spiritual ladder?” He answered: “It depends which direction the person is moving. If the person on the low rung is climbing and growing day by day, he/she is spiritually alive and engaged. Conversely, if a person on a high rung is moving downward, he/she has lost spiritual elan and may continue to sink.


Review of Between the Lines of the Bible: Exodus: A Study from the New School of Orthodox Torah Commentary

March 2, 2017

by Amos Lassen

The beauty of Torah is that there is always something new and fascinating to learn with each reading. Personally, I never tire of reading Torah commentaries. Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom shares how when traditional study meets academia and it’s rigor, we get even richer meanings of the written word. His emphasis is on how the academic fields of anthropology, archeology, philology, and literary analysis let us glean new meanings and more profound thoughts about the various writings in the book of Exodus and we can then better understand how these writings have become the backbone of the Jewish faith for thousands of years.

Rabbi Etshalom looks at what many see as the gap between academia and tradition and then successfully presents an argument for integrating archaeology, philology, anthropology and literary analysis into religious study of the Bible. It seems that academic and Torah have been at odds for so long and we now see that there are indeed methodologies that bring them together and believe it or not, this has brought about a revival of serious Torah study. (I am reminded of my mother’s standard answer to almost every question, “Do we really have to know why?”).

This is the second volume of “Between the Lines of the Bible” (I have yet to read the first) in which Rabbi Etshalom examines the sacred stories of the book of Exodus through his nuanced understanding of the Torah’s timelessness. I see this book as a “How To” guide and have enjoyed keeping it along side the original text as I make my way through the Exodus tale. Each chapter addresses a specific question that is raised by the text. That question then takes us to step-by-step answers that are the result of clear and understandable reasoning that in most cases uses modern Bible study methods. This does not mean that these new methods take the place of the old ones— they do not, they supplement tradition. Tradition is important and it has kept our religion alive— I do not see it ever being replaced by anything else. I believe that what makes this such a valuable book is that we are guided through the thought process as we read it. Remember that in Judaism there is more value in studying with someone else than in studying alone. Here you get to study with one of the best. By opening new windows to the study of Torah does not mean that we have closed other windows. The more windows we open, the more breeze we feel. Becoming comfortable with Torah is the goal but we should never feel so comfortable that we can close it off.

This entry was posted in Judaica on February 12, 2017.