Passover: 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama signals his submission to a modern
day Pharaoh.

Casa Avrech is radiant with the presence of our girlses, wonderful son-in-law—future wonderful son-in-law due to arrive later—and granddaughter Ma’ayan Ariel.

We are together to celebrate the holiday of Passover.

At our sedarim, Passover meals, we will recite the Haggadah which recounts the story of the enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt, our Exodus, and trek through the wilderness onward to the Promised Land, Israel. This story is told in Exodus, Ch. 1-15.

This is a celebration of national and religious freedom. We were brought out of bondage not just to be free, but to receive the Torah and live a Torah life in the Land of Israel.

That is true freedom.

We recount the greatest national and religious narrative in human history through prayer, narrative, metaphor, and foods that are marinated in symbolism.

On this holiday we teach our children the value of and cost of freedom.

Here is the The Pesach Seder, The Order of the Passover Meal:

And if your son asks you in the future, saying, What are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, that the L-RD our G-d commanded you? You will say to your son, We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt; and the L-RD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The L-RD gave signs and wonders, great and harmful, against Egypt, against Pharaoh, and against all his household, before our eyes: And he brought us out of there to bring us in, to give us the land that he promised our fathers. -Deuteronomy 6:20-23

The text of the Pesach seder is written in a book called the haggadah. The haggadah tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt and explains some of the practices and symbols of the holiday. The content of the seder can be summed up by the following Hebrew rhyme:

Kaddesh, Urechatz,
Karpas, Yachatz,
Maggid, Rachtzah,
Motzi, Matzah,
Maror, Korekh,
Shulchan Orekh,
Tzafun, Barekh,
Hallel, Nirtzah

Now, what does that mean?

1. Kaddesh: Sanctification
A blessing over wine in honor of the holiday. The wine is drunk, and a second cup is poured.

2. Urechatz: Washing
A washing of the hands without a blessing, in preparation for eating the Karpas.

3. Karpas: Vegetable
A vegetable (usually parsley) is dipped in salt water and eaten. The vegetable symbolizes the lowly origins of the Jewish people; the salt water symbolizes the tears shed as a result of our slavery. Parsley is a good vegetable to use for this purpose, because when you shake off the salt water, it looks like tears.

4. Yachatz: Breaking
One of the three matzahs on the table is broken. Part is returned to the pile, the other part is set aside for the afikomen (see below).

5. Maggid: The Story
A retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the first Pesach. This begins with the youngest person asking The Four Questions, a set of questions about the proceedings designed to encourage participation in the seder. The Four Questions are also known as Mah Nishtanah (Why is it different?), which are the first words of the Four Questions. This is often sung. See below.

The maggid is designed to satisfy the needs of four different types of people: the wise one, who wants to know the technical details; the wicked one, who excludes himself (and learns the penalty for doing so); the simple one, who needs to know the basics; and the one who is unable to ask, who doesn’t even know enough to know what he needs to know.

At the end of the maggid, a blessing is recited over the second cup of wine and it is drunk.

6. Rachtzah: Washing
A second washing of the hands, this time with a blessing, in preparation for eating the matzah

7. Motzi: Blessing over Grain Products
The ha-motzi blessing, a generic blessing for bread or grain products used as a meal, is recited over the matzah.

8. Matzah: Blessing over Matzah
A blessing specific to matzah is recited, and a bit of matzah is eaten.

9. Maror: Bitter Herbs
A blessing is recited over a bitter vegetable (usually raw horseradish; sometimes romaine lettuce), and it is eaten. This symbolizes the bitterness of slavery. The maror is dipped in charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine, which symbolizes the mortar used by the Jews in building during their slavery.

Note that there are two bitter herbs on the seder plate: one labeled Maror and one labeled Chazeret. The one labeled Maror should be used for Maror and the one labeled Chazeret should be used in the Korekh, below.

10. Korekh: The Sandwich
Rabbi Hillel was of the opinion that the maror should be eaten together with matzah and the paschal offering in a sandwich. In his honor, we eat some maror on a piece of matzah, with some charoset (we don’t do animal sacrifice anymore, so there is no paschal offering to eat).

11. Shulchan Orekh: Dinner
A festive meal is eaten. There is no particular requirement regarding what to eat at this meal (except, of course, that chametz cannot be eaten). Among Ashkenazic Jews, gefilte fish and matzah ball soup are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the meal. Roast chicken or turkey are common as a main course, as is beef brisket.

12. Tzafun: The Afikomen
The piece of matzah set aside earlier is eaten as “desert,” the last food of the meal. Different families have different traditions relating to the afikomen. Some have the children hide it, while the parents have to either find it or ransom it back. Others have the parents hide it. The idea is to keep the children awake and attentive throughout the pre-meal proceedings, waiting for this part.

13. Barekh: Grace after Meals
The third cup of wine is poured, and birkat ha-mazon (grace after meals) is recited. This is similar to the grace that would be said on any Shabbat. At the end, a blessing is said over the third cup and it is drunk. The fourth cup is poured, including a cup set aside for the prophet Elijah, who is supposed to herald the Messiah, and is supposed to come on Pesach to do this. The door is opened for a while at this point (supposedly for Elijah, but historically because Jews were accused of nonsense like putting the blood of Christian babies in matzah, and we wanted to show our Christian neighbors that we weren’t doing anything unseemly).

14. Hallel: Praises
Several psalms are recited. A blessing is recited over the last cup of wine and it is drunk.

15. Nirtzah: Closing
A simple statement that the seder has been completed, with a wish that next year, we may celebrate Pesach in Jerusalem (i.e., that the Messiah will come within the next year). This is followed by various hymns and stories.

Source: Judaism 101.

With the approach of this joyous holiday, we in Casa Avrech were sorely distressed and perturbed at the sight of President Obama bowing to a cruel and bigoted tyrant. President Obama probably thinks he was being, um, polite or y’know, deleriously multi-cultural. But in the
Arab world, this obsequious bow signals Islam’s supremacy over the Judeo Christian West. It seems to Seraphic Secret that our President, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, has, but a vague understanding or appreciation of freedom. This is what comes from spending so much time in Jeremiah Wright’s poisonous America and Jew-hating so-called church.

President’s Obama disgraceful and ill-considered submission to a proudly intolerant—Jews are expressly forbidden to set foot on Saudi soil—and cruel dictator should make us acutely aware of the blessings of freedom, and how quickly such freedom can be devalued and undermined.

Karen and I with all our friends and relatives a happy and Kosher Passover.

And to our Christian friends—whom we admire and love—we wish you all a meaningful Good Friday and a happy Easter.

Oh yeah, here’s a Japanese instructional video how to evenly break up Matzah for a proper sandwich. Highly educational.

H/T Dave at Israellycool

Seraphic Secret will be off-line for the first few days of Passover. We’ll return on Sunday.

And since we won’t be posting our weekly Friday Footwear, here’s a photo of the most awesome shoes we have evuh seen. The Miami Vice by Chanel, from the 2009 Resort Collection.

I’m gonna buy these shoes for Karen—in every color! Perfect footwear when we go to the shooting range.


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  1. Bob
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Barack Obama appeases the Saudi tyrant as has every US President since WW2. Most of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi. In addition Saudi handsomely funds scores of ultrafundamentalist, indoctrinating religious Madrassas in Pakistan. This is well-known. And yet everyone rightly talks about Iran and not SA where religion is even more tribal and whose society is the most repressive of any on the planet. Saudis are even more brutal and strict with women than the Iranians.
    Such is the slavish character that oil engenders. I am ashamed of America’s never-ending support for this murderous, repressive regime.

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  2. Ephraim
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    FYI, the Japanese narration in that matzah video explains how to peel boiled potatoes by putting them in ice-water for a few seconds after boiling them. It has noting to do with matzah.

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  3. Posted April 12, 2009 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Chag Sameach!
    Those shoes sure make a bang! Tap shoes, maybe?

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  4. tamster
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Robert and family, I would like to wish you a very happy Passover surrounded by family and friends.
    I was at the Grove last week and had.a wonderful time.
    Continue to do what you do best and that would be being a great and loving husband and father,an inspiritional teacher and friend through your website.

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  5. Johnny
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Having attended Catholic schools through high school, I grew up knowing only the basics of the Jewish faith. But from the time we were in kindergarten we learned the story of Moses and the Exodus and the importance of Passover.
    Happy belated Passover to the entire Avrech family.

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  6. INC
    Posted April 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Happy Passover to you and your family! Thank you for sharing The Pesach Seder.
    Best wishes to your daughter, and may you have a wonderful time as you gather together.

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  7. Rose Wenstrom
    Posted April 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Robert and Family Avrech, Peace be unto you at Passover.
    Jeh-vah Jireh will provide.

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  8. GW
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I wish you a very happy passover Robert.
    One minor correction – we are a judeo christian nation no longer. Our judeo christian roots, those roots that provided the base for over 200 years of growth into the most successful country in the world, were unilaterally and expressly abrogated by Obama in favor of secular multiculturalism in his speech in Turkey. As an aside, outside of countries that adopted communism in the 20th century, the only other Western nation that, to my knowledge, expressly cut ties with its judeo christian roots was France during the Reign of Terror, circa 1793, when that country gave birth to modern socialism.

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  9. Posted April 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    What is it with American politicians and the Saudis exactly? Yes, the Saudis are very good on the “Treat us well when you are in office and we will reward you later” trick, but still, these people are really not your friends.

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  10. Bill Brandt
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    The Japanese video showing how to break up Matzah – I kept thinking of John Belushi’s “Samarai Hitman” routine on SNL

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  11. surie lazar
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Mazel Tov
    Have a GREAT YOM TOV.

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  12. kishke
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Have a good Yom Tov.

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  13. DrCarol
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Youngest Daughter’s mouth fell open when I showed her those shoes.
    She wants the black ones to go with her Ruger 10/22. She says she has a birthday coming up.

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  14. Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Robert!! Don’t make heals out of guns — that will ruin the crown on any good barrel!

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  15. Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Chag Kosher v’Sameach!

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  16. Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy your family, Robert. Chag Kasher v’Sameach to you all.

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  17. Posted April 8, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Chag Kasher V’Same’ach

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  18. Posted April 8, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Chag Sameach to the entire Avrech clan.

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  19. Chris Grier
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Happy Passover to you and your family. I thoroughly enjoy your website. Keep up the good work!

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