The Torah In Haiku: Still Pesach?


Torah says seven
Diaspora Jews do eight
Is it still Pesach?


The Torah commands us (Exodus 12:15) to eat matzah for seven days of the Passover Festival. That is generally the practice in Israel and for Reform Jews.

More traditional Jews in the Diaspora add an eighth day to continue the tradition dating back to Temple times when the beginning of the holiday was based on physical observation of the new moon rather than reference to a set calendar as we do today.

This year, with the eighth day falling on Shabbat, there are issues surrounding Torah reading for those who observe only seven days. In communities where the holiday lasts eight days, there is a special reading for the second Shabbat of Passover. In the Reform Movement in North America, according to the URJ Torah Portion Schedule, we will read the first part of the portion Sh’mini this week and the remainder of that portion next week.

Do you know what practice your congregation will follow this Shabbat? What is your personal practice?

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About Ed Nickow

Ed Nickow is a teacher and member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Chai, Long Grove, IL. This post is from his blog The Torah in Haiku.

2 Responses to “The Torah In Haiku: Still Pesach?”

  1. Larry Kaufman

    We now follow the URJ calendar if and when it differs from the Israeli calendar; but, as I pointed out in a prior blog, there have been times when the URJ and the WRJ calendars did not agree! (I believe that shalom bayit, peace in the household, has now been achieved.)

    I prefer to use the phrase “more halachic” over “more traditional.” As Reform Jews, we too have traditions, some of them probably older than some Orthodox practices in this new era of Orthodox pre-occupation with laying stringency on top of stringency.

    So Beth Emet, and I, are going with the Torah. While I will eat challah Friday night at motza’ei Pesach with a fairly clear conscience, I will still hear my grandmother’s voice echoing that the bread is treif, because it was baked on yom tov.

  2. avatar

    We read Sh’mini today. Next week we will read Tazria, then Metzora the following week to get us back in sync with the non-Reform diaspora.

    I was surprised to learn recently, while looking up what Israel does, that Israel will read Tazria-Metzora together, and Acharei-Kedoshim together, and only split a double parsha at Behar-Bechukotai.

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