Tazria (Leviticus 12-13 )
GOOD MORNING! Many Jewish holidays have been humorously described as: "They wanted to kill us. We won. Let's eat." If you'd like to have your Pesach (Passover) Seder to be more than "Can we skip this part of the Hagaddah ... and Let's eat!", then this week's edition might be of help. The first Pesach Seder is Monday, night, April 18th. Your seder can be an even more enjoyable, memorable and warm family experience.
How does one get his/her children to feel positively about being Jewish? You cannot transfer your feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Many people who love being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!
Q & A: HOW DO I MAKE MY SEDER ENJOYABLE,
CREATIVE AND MEANINGFUL??
Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:
1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! See what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. Check out the Judaism in a Nutshell: Passover, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242 ... or via JudaicaEnterprises.com. Also, excellent materials including an audio guide "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" are available at ChadishMedia.com !
2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Hagaddah!
3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery - make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)
4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (you can also order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore - or call toll-free 877-758-3242... or via JudaicaEnterprises.com.
5. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:
- On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
- If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?
- If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?
- What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
- Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?
For more on "Pesach" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin - unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.
There are two types of speech transgressions: 1) Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue") - making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth ... and 2) Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") - telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech - call 866-593-8399 or visit their website at http://www.ChofetzChaimUSA.org/publications.html for more information - or buy a copy of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's book Guard Your Tongue, available at your local Jewish bookstore, at JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states regarding tzora'as (see above in Torah Portion for definition):
"All the days the plague is in him ... he shall dwell alone; outside the camp shall his dwelling be" (Leviticus 13:46).
Why is the person who is afflicted with tzora'as (who is called the metzora) commanded to dwell outside of the camp?
The Sages teach us in the Talmud (Erchin 16b) that since the metzora caused the separation of friends by speaking against others, he too should be separated from others.
This is not revenge, but to teach a lesson. Being all alone is a great distress. Everyone needs other people. While some people have a greater need to be around others, being in isolation causes much suffering. When the metzora spoke against a person he caused bad feelings and the isolation of that person from friends and family. By feeling the isolation himself, he will be more careful with his speech.
Having people around you is a source of many benefits. However, there is a price to pay for this. Your friends and relatives are bound to do things that irritate you. If you keep in mind that the alternative to having people around you is being all alone, you will view the drawbacks of having friends and relatives as a price well worth paying. When you purchase an item, you usually focus on what you are gaining - not on your giving up money. Similarly, keep your focus on how you gain from other people and you will be free from focusing on how much they annoy you. When you view others in a positive manner, you will be much calmer in your search for strategies to influence them to stop their annoying behavior.
CANDLE LIGHTING - April 1
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:56 - Hong Kong 6:15 - Honolulu 6:20
J'Burg 5:48 - London 7:15 - Los Angeles 6:55
Melbourne 6:56 - Mexico City 6:32 - Miami 7:19
New York 7:02 - Singapore 6:55 - Toronto 7:25
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
A man without knowledge of himself and
his heritage is like a tree without roots.
-- Dick Gregory