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Chol Hamoed Pesach

Chol Hamoed Pesach

Thursday, 13 April, 2017 - 3:41 pm

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Today is the third day of Pesach.  There are essentially three parts to Pesach. The first two days have the status of a full Yomtov - Holiday - when we refrain from all work, except cooking food for the day, or carrying in the street (even without an Eruv), which are permitted on Holidays although forbidden on Shabbat.  The last two days of the Holiday have this status, as well.  The four days in between - the Intermediate Days - are called Chol Hamoed, which translates loosely to "the weekdays of the Holiday”.  On the one hand, they are still part of the Holiday, which we observe by celebrating, saying special prayers and refraining from work.  On the other hand, they are "weekdays", so we are not forbidden from work.  What that means from a practical standpoint is that we do only the work that is absolutely necessary.  So, we go on trips and go to work if we have to keep our jobs, but we try to cut back on work as much as possible.  (Of course, since Shabbat is one of those four days this year, the Shabbat rules apply.)

Originally, the way it is written in the Torah, the Holiday included one day at the beginning, one day at the end and five days in between, for a total of seven days, and this is the way it is still observed in Israel today.  Outside of Israel, we observe an extra day.  The first day commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and the last day commemorates the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea, which happened on that day.  The Torah tells us to eat Matzah for seven days, so this celebration spans the entire time-- from when the Jews left Egypt until the day that their enemies were no longer a threat.

In observance of Chol Hamoed, I am going to be brief, and conclude with best wishes for a continued happy Pesach.  Just one point to add:  On the eighth day of Pesach we read the prophecy of the coming of Moshiach and the future redemption.  Our Sages have said that just as we were redeemed from Egypt in the month of Nissan, so we will be redeemed from this exilein [?] Nissan.  It is customary to enjoy a meal at the end of that day known as the "Moshiach Feast" with Matzah and four cups of wine.  I invite you to join me at 7:30 PM on Tuesday April 18th at 3070 Louis Road for this uplifting occasion.   Chag Sameach. 

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