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                                                                 Over the past several years a new kind of Pesach obser-
                 A Message from our Rabbi                        vance has taken hold. We’ve been partially transformed
                                                                 from a community that goes away for Pesach to a commu-
                                  Rabbi Dale Polakoff            nity where many are staying home to celebrate with family
                                                                 and friends. The change has not been an easy or a painless
                                                                 one. Families that never made Pesach were suddenly faced
                                                                 with the challenge of mastering such a transition. Children
                                                                 whose preparations for Pesach often involved packing
                                                                 were now helping to prepare. The sights and experiences
                                                                 of travel were replaced by the sights and experiences that
                                                                 have marked preparation for Pesach in Jewish homes for

                                                                 I’m not naïve enough to think that when the dangers of the
                                                                 pandemic move on, countless families will never again go
                                                                 away for Pesach. I am hopeful, though, that the lessons and
                                                                 experiences of Pesach at home will be the gift that contin-
                                                                 ues to give. And even when we do go away, we take those
       Rabbi Menachem Benzion Sacks was born in Jerusalem in     values and traditions with us.
       1896 to a family that had lived in Israel for six generations.
       At the age of 18 he received semicha from Rav Avraham     Ellen and I wish you a Chag Kasher V’sameach.
       Yitzchak HaKohen Kook who was the first Ashkenazi Chief
       Rabbi of what was then known as British Mandatory Pales-
       tine and who became the father of religious Zionism. Rabbi
       Sacks moved to Chicago in 1923 and worked to found the    Rabbi Dale Polakoff
       Jewish day school movement as a way of ensuring Jewish
       survival following World War II. Rabbi Sacks passed away in

       A collection of Rabbi Sacks’ homiletical writing was pub-
       lished in 1978, entitled Menachem Tzion, in which he offers
       a beautiful idea related to Pesach with a much broader

       The opening pasuk of Sefer Shemot records the journey of
       Yaacov’s family to Egypt. “These are the names of the sons
       of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with
       his household:”

       Rabbi Sacks interprets the phrase “each coming with his
       household” - ish u’beito bau - to mean that Yaacov’s family
       brought their houses with them. Obviously, he’s not refer-
       ring to the physical structures that we refer to as our hous-
       es, but rather Rabbi Sacks is suggesting that what makes
       up a Jewish home is much more transportable than four
       walls and a ceiling. A Jewish home is comprised of values
       and traditions that have existed independent of physical
       structures for generations. It is these values and traditions
       that Yaakov and his family brought down to Egypt. The
       values and traditions that make up the Jewish home protect
       the family more than any physical structure could.
                                                                       The values and traditions that make
       Rabbi Sacks writes that in every diaspora, no matter where    up the Jewish home protect the family
       the Jew finds himself, he brings his home with him. Despite   more than any physical structure could.
       the challenges he might face and regardless of his capacity
       to build a physical home, the home the Jew does build is on
       firm ground and stands solidly if it is filled with the values
       and traditions of the Jewish home.

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