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From the Desk of

Rabbi Dr. Michael Gottesman...


All people, in every generation, must regard themselves as having been personally freed from Egypt. (Haggadah)

Children love to ask the question why.  Our Rabbis knew that and built the observance of Pesach around that very question.  They also gave an answer, one that in two thousand years has not lost its power.  When children as the question “Why is this night different from all other nights?” they are answered with a retelling of the story of how we were freed from slavery in Egypt.

We retell the Pesach story in the warm, inviting atmosphere of a family meal-the Seder.  The Rabbis designed the Seder as a way of passing Jewish identity and awareness from parents to their children, from generation to generation.  In fact, the name of the book containing the Seder service, Haggadah, means “telling”.  It comes from the words of our torah, “And you shall tell your child.”

Pesach celebrates beginnings.  At this time of year, when we look out of our windows, we can see the new green shoots budding on the trees.  Spring has once again arrived.  In fact, the green vegetable or parsley we use during the Seder symbolizes just that, springtime, the season of rebirth.

Pesach also celebrates another beginning, our beginning as a free and independent people.  The Torah records in such beautiful detail those miraculous events: Moshe’s confrontation with Pharaoh; the Ten Plagues; the hurried departure; the miraculous parting of the Red Sea.  As we read through the Haggadah, we get caught up in this wonderful story of our people.  At the Pesach Seder, we try to put ourselves into that story.  We perform ritual acts such as dipping greens in salt water, spilling drops of wine, drinking four cups of wine, and eating matzah.  And of course, when all is done, and our Seder is over, we ask that what we have done be accepting to G-d and we end with L’Shana Habah B’Yerushaliem.  Next year in Jerusalem.

Chag Kosher V’Sameach 

Kol Tuv


Rabbi Dr. Michael Gottesman is a native Chicagoan whose first pulpit was McHenry County Jewish Congregation, its only synagogue, making him the only Rabbi in McHenry County. In July of 2008, Rabbi Dr. Gottesman took over the pulpit of Skokie Central Congregation from Rabbi Lawrence Montrose who had been its spiritual leader for 47 years. Rabbi Gottesman has succeeded in transforming Skokie Central from a traditional congregation to a modern orthodox one as well as in relocating the congregation to its new current home. Besides Yorah Yorah Semicha, Rabbi Gottesman has a MA in Jewish Education and a PhD in Health Administration.

Sun, April 21 2024 13 Nisan 5784