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Dubai: Failure or Success

March 24, 2010

Here’s my Shabbat sermon from March 13, 2010:

Someone sent me a gift and I am wondering whether I should use it, so I thought I would ask you: a tee-shirt that says I WORK FOR THE MOSSAD. Do you think this is something I should wear when I go to bed? The answer may depend upon whether you are a gentile or a missing tile! And the answer may tell us whether you are able to fulfill a central mitzvah of the Pesach festival.

Today is Shabbos Parshat Ha-chodesh, the special Sabbath meant to inform us that the month in which the festival of Pesach takes place is about to begin. Now is a time for all of us to start preparing for the holiday. And there are lots of things we’ve got to do to make sure that when the festival comes we are able to fulfill the mitzvot that are associated with it … and there are, in fact, so many mitzvot associated with it – more laws than those associated with any other holiday. One whole tractate of the Talmud – one of the largest, comprising more than 240 pages – is dedicated to a study of the laws of Pesach. You all know the routine: our homes have to be cleaned out, dishes and silverware changed over, all of our chometz disposed of. The time has come to start the shopping, the cooking, the scrubbing and scouring … all part of our preparations for Pesach. These are tough times for us men; tough having to watch our wives go through all this. I know one man who told me that it’s so painful for him watching his wife having to work this hard during the days before Pesach that he literally has to leave the house!

But there is one commandment for this holiday, one that is obligatory for men and for women, that you may not be aware of, but I tell it to you today because it is one that, for many, requires real preparation. And that is the commandment to be happy. READ MORE

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