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Passover, The Holiday of Education - April 7 2017

Passover, The Holiday of Education - April 7 2017

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Ready or not, Passover is on Monday night! Passover is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays, with a majority of Jewish households holding Passover festivities.

What do we celebrate on Passover? Why of course, we celebrate our freedom from Egypt. But did you know that there is actually a Mitzvah in the Torah to remember leaving Egypt every day? Indeed, far from being an event that we talk about once a year at the Seder, the Passover story can be found all over Jewish literature. From the daily morning prayers to Kiddush on Shabbat, we constantly remember the Exodus. So what's the big fuss on Passover?

One of the explanations given is that while all year long we tell the story of the Exodus to ourselves, on Passover the focus is on telling the story to the children. That's why the story in the Haggadah begins with the 'Ma Nishtana' - the children asking the four questions. 

For over three millennia we've been keeping Jewish tradition going. The key to that continuity has always been Jewish education. It is our children who will pass it on to the next generation. 

In order for us to be able to ensure that the next generation will keep it going, we have to teach them in an enjoyable way and make sure that each child's Jewish experience is a pleasant one, and one that he or she will want to participate in. The fact that our tradition has been passed down for so many years, and has survived Inquisitions and Holocausts, is not enough of a reason reason why we must keep that chain going. After all, just because my grandparents thought it was a good idea, that doesn't mean that I should!

Judaism is a priceless gift and a beautiful experience. It is meaningful, relevant, enjoyable, family oriented and serves as a moral compass throughout life. That is the reason why Jewish education is so important. It's not a burden that grandpa and grandma decided to cling to that we want to pass on to our children, but a gift that our ancestors gave their all to make sure that we'd have it as well.

Today also marks the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Every year on his birthday, a time associated with receiving gifts, the Rebbe would encourage his followers to give him birthday 'gifts' in the form of some sort of action in the field of Jewish education, whether it be opening a new Jewish school, or teaching one child the Aleph Bet.

As we celebrate Passover this year, remember that God's gift to the Jewish people in the form of the Torah and Mitzvot is just that - a gift. Jewish education shouldn't be a burden but a blessing. Tell your family how lucky we are to be part of such a beautiful tradition. Treasure it, tell the story, savor the moment, take it all in and most of all, enjoy.

Rabbi Avrohom

 

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