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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.

Kadesh: Recognize the fact that you are unique, having a combination of God given talents and skills that can contribute to making the world a better place. Then assert yourself!

Urchatz: Do not be fooled by the sentiment that it's more sophisticated to “know it all." Approaching life with a childlike wonderment is liberating.

Karpas:  This blessing can teach us about the gratitude attitude. Think about how many things happened to bring this bit of food to your table - knowing these details nurtures appreciation.

Yachatz: The definition of maturity is the ability to trade a lower level pleasure now for a higher pleasure later. Is that you?

Maggid: Humanity's unique ability lies in the power of speech. It is a tool for both construction and destruction. The way you use it determines what type of person you are.

Rachtzah: One who is concerned with physical and spiritual health is discriminating about everything and everyone they come in contact with. Freedom means saying, "I choose not to partake."

Motzi: Man needs to realize that while human hands might produce bread, that ability is but a gift from God. In essence, God gives us two gifts - raw material and the tools to transform them.

Matzah: The lesson of matzah is to seize the moment and don't delay doing the right thing for, after all, the difference between dough becoming matzah or chametz is just one minute.

Maror: One of the things that Hitler blamed the Jews for was inflicting mankind with a conscience. However, we are proud that we were chosen for that task and will neither rest nor give up until all of humanity learns to abhor evil and embrace justice.

Korech: A broken matzah sandwich held together with maror and charoset. The Jewish people can be crushed and split up but at the same time we are held together by a common heritage.

Shulchan Orech: Holiness is not attained through denying our physical needs but by using them to sanctify our life.

Tzafun: You eat more matzah not because you are hungry but because you are commanded. Physical pleasure needs to be guided by a higher value - otherwise it will enslave you.

Barech: Benching was instituted by Abraham at a time when monotheism was considered crazy. That did not stop him. Freedom is doing the right thing even when it's unpopular.

Hallel: Spirituality is when the feelings in your soul express themselves through emotionally charged song and dance. It’s when the real you breaks out of your outer shell.

Nirtzah: Next year in Jerusalem is a vision of a perfected world. A world where harmony between all of God's creatures finally is attained. Remember, bringing that into reality is our job!