Tag Archives passover

Chametz and Matzah

Yoel Halevi 2 comments

Part 1

What is Chametz?

When it comes to the process of leavening dough using sourdough and yeast, both methods work through a similar principle: fermentation. However, they achieve this fermentation through different mechanisms.

Yeast: Yeast is a single-celled organism, typically Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which consumes sugars present in the dough and produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and alcohol as byproducts. This process is called alcoholic fermentation. The CO2 gas gets trapped in the dough, causing it to rise.

Pessaḥ- An Etymology

Yoel Halevi One comments


The translation of ancient texts presents an intricate tapestry where linguistic nuances and cultural contexts intertwine. In the realm of biblical scholarship, the term פסח, commonly translated as “Passover,” bears not only a linguistic translation but also an interpretative weight that shapes our understanding of a significant ceremonial event. This paper delves into the etymological intricacies of פסח, examining its dual meanings of “to limp” and “to protect.” Drawing on linguistic evolution and historical interpretations, we navigate through the genesis of the term “Passover” and explore whether this translation accurately encapsulates the rich layers of meaning embedded in the original Hebrew. By scrutinizing various biblical passages and extrabiblical sources, we aim to unveil a more nuanced understanding of פסח as an apotropaic ritual designed for the protection of the Israelites during the Exodus.

Passover? A Mistranslation.

Yoel Halevi No Comments

Very commonly we find that the word פסח is translated as “Passover”. This translation carries with it not only a translation value but also an interpretation of the term. The basis of this translation is found in the dual use of the verb פסח which can both mean “to limp” and “to protect”. Due to the fact that in later Hebrew the meaning of limping was more common, the translation was adopted based on a partial understanding of Hebrew verbs. The idea of a person limping leads to the idea of skipping over a step, hence “Passover”. 

The translation of Pesaḥ as “Passover” was coined by Tyndale in the 16th century as an interpretation of the term. This translation has been adopted by most English speakers as the correct meaning of the ceremony done during the exodus. This interpretation by Tyndale was probably based on common Jewish etymology found in late antiquity in the Mekhilta Pascha chp.7 and medieval commentaries such as Rashi who based himself on Midrashic sources. 

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Hebrew In Israel | Torah Portion Bo – Learn Torah

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Jeff Gilbert and Yoel talk about aspects of the first Pesach and the annual reenactments in this week’s Torah Portion Bo (enter), as well as taking an interesting detour into bee honey, camel’s milk and mother’s milk.

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Hebrew In Israel | Beyin Ha’arbayim – When Is Pesach Done? – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi 4 comments

The term בין הערביים –Beyin Ha’Arbayim is temporal construct form used to describe a specific time of day, and found in several places in the Bible.  One of the most important places it is used is in connection to the time of the Pesach sacrifice as prescribed in Exodus 12:6.  This term has created many arguments over when to do things, and in fact has raised the question of how does the Torah understand time in overall.

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Hebrew In Israel | How Old Am I? – Learn Torah

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A question which I deal with every year, but do not have a conclusive answer:  How old did the Pesach lamb have to be?

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Hebrew In Israel | Weekly Hebrew Bible Class on Passover – Learn Torah

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Take a detailed stroll through the opening verses of Exodus 12 as Yoel teaches this Passover text to the weekly group Hebrew Bible Class.  You will hear the Hebrew text read, translated and explained according to the ancient culture.

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Hebrew In Israel | Se’or, Chamets and Matsah – Learn Torah

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Yoel explains the three Hebrew words for leaven used in Exodus 12:15 in this fun and informative debut broadcast with Jono Vandor at Truth2U.org.

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Hebrew In Israel | Adopting A New Identity: Joining Israel In Biblical Times – Learn Torah


What are the mechanisms for entrance into the people of God, i.e. Israel.  When is a ger no longer a ger?  And is it acceptable to refer to someone as a ger once they have been admitted into Israel through the conversion mentioned in the Torah?   Yoel and Jeff Gilbert address this issue in the recording “Identity Crisis in the Camp of Israel” on TalkingTorah.org.

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