Sunday April 5, 2009 – Nisan 12, 5769, was the date of the annual Pesach meeting of our kehila in Zilina. Festive Pesach dinner took place in hotel Slovan, as it did the last year. How was this night different? Well, rabbi Stiefel from Piestany took part and his presence made the gathering even more festive and joyful.
Mr. Pavel Frankl, the head of the Jewish religious community in Zilina started the gathering with a short speech followed by reading from Haggada, story of liberation of our ancestors from Egyptian slavery.
Dinner, served on the beautifully set table, included traditional Seder specialties. Charoset – A mixture of apples, nuts and wine which resembles the mortar and brick made by the Jews when they toiled for Pharaoh, Maror – The Maror (bitter herbs) is placed in the center of the plate. One may use either peeled and grated raw horseradish or Romaine lettuce, or both. The center of the plate represents the attribute of rachamim, mercy. Beitzah – A hard-boiled egg is to remind us of the Chagigah (Festival Offering) in the Holy Temple. We use two dishes, of Beitzah: one as a reminder of the Passover Offering, and one as a reminder of the Chagigah Offering. And of course Matzah – the “bread of proclamation” over which we tell the story of the Exodus. It’s the “bread of humility” that represents our self-abnegating commitment to G-d, and the “bread of faith” that embodies our simple faith, trust and devotion to Him. It’s the “bread of healing” with which we imbibe spiritual wholeness and wellness into our beings. After this “starter” a Goldene Jucha followed, one of the most favorite meals, with splendid Matzah balls prepared by women form our kehila.
Some Pesach stories were told and songs were sung by rabbi Zev after the dinner and the smell of coming Pesach filled the air. Rabbi didn’t come empty handed. He brought Shemurah Matzah for each family (Shemurah Matzah means – watched or guarded Matzah). It is made from grain that is guarded from the time it was harvested lest it come in contact with even the merest hint of water and moisture. It is also baked by hand, with the specific intention and awareness that it will be used as a vehicle of connection to G-d — to fulfill the mitzvah of eating Matzah on the Seder night.
Traditional Pesach dinner (deliberately called Pesach dinner, the real Seder dinner is on Wednesday, April 8 this year) brought pleasure a happiness to all of kehila members and invited guests and we may only hope, that with HASHEM’S blessing we will meet next year again.
Some of the definitions were taken form the official chabad web page.