Jewish holidays Archives - David Werdiger
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Jewish holidays Archives - David Werdiger

I’m dreaming of a white …

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The chagim are spread widely across the calendar year, with the “major” ones like Pesach and the High Holydays falling usually around April and September. These correspond to the seasons of autumn and spring in Australia, and the reverse in the northern hemisphere. Since the weather is usually ambivalent during those times, and they are close to the equinox, the difference between the experiences in each hemisphere is not great. Chanukah, on the other hand, falls during…

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It’s matzah, but not as you know it

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“This is what Hillel did in the times of the temple: he would wrap the Pascal offering, matzah and maror and eat them all together” (text of the Hagaddah, quoted from Talmud Pesachim 115a) The matzah most commonly used by Jews the world over is flat and crisp (of course how crisp depends on the brand, country of origin, and in some cases, the forearm strength of the Eastern European women in the area). However, this style of matzah is a relatively recent development in Jewish history. Until at least…

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Wallet, cup, temper – drinking on Simchat Torah

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We seem to associate Simchat Torah with getting drunk. However, unlike other Jewish holidays (Purim is the most obvious example), there is no imperative whatsoever to imbibe and drink on Simchat Torah. The only mention of the association that comes to mind is that we change around the order of the morning prayer service and move birchat kohanim (priestly blessing) from musaf to shacharit. The reason for this is that on Simchat Torah it is customary to make kiddush after the shacharit service instead…

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