March 11th, 2007


Gearing up for Pesach

About two years ago, on one of the Jewish Internet lists I belong to, someone reminded us that when Purim comes Pesach is only a month away. For the observant Jew, Pesach means plenty of work which entails a lot of cleaning, a lot of koshering and also a lot of eating to get rid of the Chametz (Chametz or Chometz (חמץ) is the Hebrew term for "leavened bread") in the house.

Since my observance is still fairly recent (it's not even four years since I started to follow Jewish laws seriously), I fear I might still get important things wrong. So each year I purchase new books on the holidays (something I love to do) and reread older ones to refresh my memory and get new insights into the holidays as they come along.

Here's my list for this year:

New books (new for me anyway)
- Pesach Passover - Its Observance, Laws and Significance. Artscroll Mesorah Series. I was given this book last year at the onset of the holiday so I only briefly looked at it then but I now intend to read it through. It is very classical (as most, if not all, Artscroll books) but I always feel one needs to know the basics before moving on to other perspectives.
- Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own by Marge Piercy, the American poet, novelist, and social activist. I expect this one will be very different from the other one, with an emphasis on women since Piercy is a feminist but I am looking forward to the challenge and pleasure I am positive this book will provide.

Older book
- The chapter on Pesach in How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household by Blu Greenberg.

One I read last year and the year before last
- The Chief Rabbi's Haggadah for its beautiful essays and commentary and emphasis on ethics by Jonathan Sacks.