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Tzav 5766

Tzav (Leviticus 6-8 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   A little more than a week until Pesach and counting ... It's time to give some thought to making the Seder more enjoyable and effective in creating a warm family experience. Most Jews would like their 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. Anyone I have ever met who loved 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!


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's Passover - Judaism in a Nutshell:

  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 Passover - Judaism in a Nutshell,Passover Survival Kit Haggadah, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242. NO EXCUSES!

  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, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242, they have a special: Bag of Plagues + Passover - Judaism in a Nutshell for $19.95.)

  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:

    1. On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
    2. 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?
    3. If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk
      your life to help save it?
    4. What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
    5. Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?

Also, check out and for more!


  1. A Jewish man was waiting in line to be knighted by the Queen of England. He was supposed to kneel and recite a sentence in Latin. Comes his turn, he kneels, the Queen taps him on the shoulders with the sword ... and in the panic of excitement he forgets the Latin line. Thinking quickly, he recites the only other line he knows in a foreign language which he remembers from the Passover Seder: "Mah nishtana ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-leilot." The puzzled Queen turns to her adviser and asks, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"

  2. The supply of ch'rain (horseradish used by many for bitter herbs at the Pesach Seder) being off-loaded at the Madrid airport was stopped by a freight handlers strike. It seems that the ch'rain in Spain stayed mainly on the plane...

For more on "The Passover Seder" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

This week's Torah portion includes the laws of: the Burnt Offering, Meal Offering, High Priest's Offering, Sin Offerings, Guilt Offerings and Peace Offerings. It concludes with the portions of the Peace Offerings which are allotted to the Priests and the installation ceremony of the Priest for serving in the Sanctuary.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the Lord spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying: This is the Law of the Transgression Offering, in the place where the Burnt Offering is slaughtered shall the Transgression Offering be slaughtered before the Lord; it is most holy." (Leviticus 6:17-18)

The Talmud (Yerushalmi Yevomot 8:3) explains that they were offered in the same place in the Sanctuary to save from embarrassment those people bringing a korban, an offering, to atone for their wrongdoings; anyone witnessing the event could assume that the korban was brought as a donation and not necessarily as an atonement for a transgression.

Our lesson: We must be very careful not to cause someone embarrassment or discomfort because of past misdeeds.

* * *

Touch someone this Passover! Send them for free the Passover "4 Questions and 2 Jokes" Kit. Go to You can have them send it to your list or have one sent to you and then you can send it out to whomever you wish! Enjoy!!

(or Go to

Jerusalem  6:27
Guatemala 5:57  Hong Kong 6:22  Honolulu 6:30
J'Burg 5:41  London 7:25  Los Angeles 7:00
Melbourne 5:48  Mexico City 6:34  Miami 7:23

New York 7:0


Nothing great was ever achieved
without enthusiasm.

--  Ralph Waldo Emerson

In honor of my father
Asher Halevi ben Eliyahu Nachman
With much love,
Bruce Wolpe


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