This month’s blog comes a bit earlier than usual, in order to offer you some food for thought in preparation for Seder night. Our website is full of material than can help you engage in a thought-provoking and exciting journey from Egypt to the Holy Land, from exile to redemption, all the way from nightfall until dawn. Here are a few examples:
- a number of articles published between 1954 and 1983 discussing various themes related to the holiday of Passover: ‘Freedom and Law’; ‘Religious Freedom’; ‘Ritual and the Seder’; ‘Sons and Mystics’; and ‘Passover and Permissiveness’.
- a brief summary of various laws of Passover, relating especially to the food we can and/or cannot consume during the holiday.
- newly uploaded extracts from the famous ‘Ask the Rabbi’ column on the Jewish Chronicle dealing with Passover (alongside Shavuot and Sukkot).
- a lengthy, scholarly piece on hasidic interpretations of Passover and the Exodus.
I hope this can inspire our readers’ discussions over the course of the Seder(s) and help all of you connect with the spirit of the festival!
Mentioned in the above is actually one page of many in our brand new section of ‘Ask the Rabbi’ columns! Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs regularly contributed to this feature of the Jewish Chronicle for decades, responding to a wide array of questions in succinct and straightforward fashion. The questions themselves appeared on the journal eclectically, although for convenience’s sake, we have re-ordered them on our website thematically. Ever wondered… about the evil eye in the Jewish religion? which prayers can be said only in the presence of a minyan? why we don’t perform shehitah on fish? You’ll find the answers to these, and many more questions (some of them rather entertaining ones as well, I may add) on this page.
And one last item to mention in this blog post: we’ve also added, over the past month, a selection of unpublished and unedited, scholarly articles by Louis Jacobs. These pieces remained in manuscript form following his passing, over ten years ago, while a number of other articles were successfully published posthumously by Vallentine Mitchell. They are now accessible for the first time to readers, in the same state as they were left by the author. The selection includes: ‘Kabbalah: True or False? – The Debate between Ribash and Ibn Gabbai’; ‘Havvayot de-Abbaye ve-Rava: The History of a Talmudic Text’; ‘Menahem Meiri on the Rabbinic Aggadah’; and ‘“Caught in the Act”: Spontaneity and Jewish Ethics’. Most of them, as you can tell, discuss concepts or discussions from the rabbinical literature, mostly the talmudic period to the medieval period – areas to which Jacobs dedicated a lifetime of study!
With that, I wish each and every one of our readers a pesah kasher vesame’ah!