Why do we use karpas—a green vegetable—dipped in salt water at the beginning of the Seder? Could it have something to do with the other meaning of karpas—fine woolen cloth? There is a lesson here, hidden in plain sight, about causality and Divine Providence.
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Contrary to what is commonly believed, the story of the Exodus was mainly one of Divine silence, in which only occasionally a word of God entered the human condition. While Pesach Haggada relates the miracles, the “empty spaces” in between tell us of a frightening Divine silence of some 38 years. And just as our forefathers must have often wondered where God was all those years, so do we. But just as they made it through, so must we.
Judaism is about new ideas. It is dependent on fresh concepts deeply rooted in its tradition. Innovative thinking is the need of the hour. It is time for halachic authorities, rabbis, and religious thinkers to take notice of the immense changes that have taken place in our day. Never has the world gone through so many adjustments in so short a time. Never have the Jewish people been confronted with so many challenges. It is not only the security of the State of Israel that is at stake, but even more so, its very spirit and spiritual future.
The Talmud poses the following question: Why is it prohibited to eat or to possess chametz (leavened food) on Pesach? What is there in the nature of chametz that makes it forbidden on Pesach? And what is so special about matzah that makes it the most desirable food to eat on this holiday?
It is characteristic of the Jewish tradition that once its foundations have been well established, the structure of Judaism stands like an unshakable mountain and can weather any unwelcome influences from without. It can then absorb all forms of genuine human wisdom if they will add to a deeper understanding of Judaism and grant the Jew a greater commitment to his tradition. Judaism has never been afraid to confront human wisdom and has always proudly responded to attacks on its tradition.
One of the most mysterious rituals on the Seder night is the eating of the karpas dipped in salt water at the very beginning of the evening. One reason for this ritual, we are told, is to encourage everyone, particularly the children, to ask many questions.
The continuing absence of distinctive Divine Providence in modern times is often seen as the cause for much of secularism. Since the days of the Renaissance man has become more and more skeptical about the frequency of divine intervention. No longer, it is argued, are there enough indications of God’s interference in the national and […]
The Talmud (1) poses the question: Why is it prohibited to eat or to possess chametz (leaven), such as bread, on Pesach? What is there in the nature of leaven that makes it forbidden on Pesach? And what is so special about matza that makes it the most desirable food to eat on this holiday?
The Torah’s dietary laws of kashrut and those that instruct the Jew to remove all chametz (leaven) on Pesach and to eat matzot do not include instructions on whether food is to be cooked or to be roasted. The only remarkable exception to this is the law concerning the korban Pesach (Passover lamb). What difference does it make if the meat is cooked or roasted?