Happy Passover from Heilicher

Passover or Pesah/פסח, is the Jewish Holiday celebrating the Israelites freedom from slavery circa 1250 BCE. The Torah describes Pesah as the Holiday of Matzah/חג המצות and the rabbis call it The Spring Holiday/חג האביב. Customs of the holiday include a festive meal, called a "seder/סדר", that consists of 14 parts meant to inspire questions and participation from children while having all participants "view themselves as if they were freed from Egypt" (Mishna Pesahim 10:5/משנה פסחים י:ה and the Pesah haggadah/פסח הגדה). Additionally, we refrain from owning and eating leavened items throughout the entire holiday. Click here for more information.

In recent weeks, students and faculty have been learning about Pesah, its history, rituals and customs and looking for new ideas to bring to our sederim. One idea that has come up is related to the idea of symbols. Everything in the seder, is meant to symbolize an element of the story of Passover. From the bitter herb and salt water representing the bitterness and tears of slavery, to the 4 cups of wine representing our celebration of personal and communal freedom, symbolism is at the heart of our Pesah celebrations. Students have engaged in opportunities to learn about others' family rituals and customs that help symbolize the transition from slavery to freedom. In both 6th and 7th grade this week, we engaged in Torah Yoga (Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures by Diane Bloomfield) and experiencing our own physical, mental and spiritual release from tension, pain and suffering to release, free-flow and openness.

During your seder, we invite you to ask each other about your personal Egypt - what in your life is constricting? And discuss what you do to "view yourself as if you were freed from Egypt" - how do you release the tension?

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Pesah,

חג כשר ושמח!
Etan Dov Weiss
Director of Jewish Life and Hebrew

  • Holidays
  • Judaic Studies

More Posts

The Passing of A Year, The Crossing of A Sea

Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate our hurried exodus from Egypt, one in which we did not even have time to let bread dough rise, with a meal that is so full of preparation and organization it is literally called “order”? The seder plate is even laid out from chazeret (lettuce) to charoset (fruit and nut mixture), helping to ensure the order of the meal is followed and no mitzvah is passed over. We scour the house in advance of the holiday, searching for chametz (forbidden foods), and we arrange to sell the rest, as a way to ensure there is none remaining in our possession at sundown on the first night of Pesach. It is remarkable that we remain so devoted to the detailed preparation of a holiday designed to mark when we went from bondage to freedom without time for even the simplest food preparation.