Holiday Mitzvot

Every holiday has a unique theme and its own traditions and practices. Here are the Jewish holiday cheat sheets...

The Festivals
How to Celebrate
We wear our finest wardrobe and bake our best challah . . . we serve great meals—even better than on Shabbat . . . we give the children treats, buy our wives fine clothes and jewelry, and drink wine . . .
Rosh Hashanah
Keep It Sweet!
The lowdown on the holiday foods, observances, and the traditional Tashlich ceremony.
Shofar
A Call to Action
When do we blow? Why a shofar? Who needs to hear the blasts of the ram’s horn? And much more . . .
Yom Kippur
Second Chances
A celebration of our indestructible relationship with G‑d, it is the holiest day of the year, when we reconnect with our very essence, which remains faithful to G‑d regardless of our behavior.
What Is a Sukkah?
On the holiday of Sukkot we sit in a sukkah, a hut that sit beneath the open sky, built to provide shade. We spend eight days in a flimsy outdoor hut to demonstrates our faith in G‑d…
The Four Kinds: The Lulav and Etrog
Expressing Our Unity
Four types of vegetation are taken every day of the holiday of Sukkot. Why these four? And how do we go about doing this mitzvah?
Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
’Cause it’s hard to say goodbye
On Simchat Torah we conclude, and begin anew, the annual Torah reading cycle, an accomplishment that produces unparalleled joy and dancing.
Chanukah Observances
Latkes, donuts & cheese blintzes
Foods, gifts, games, and prayers . . . Learn about Chanukah’s varied customs and traditions.
The Menorah
Make Light!
The menorah lighting was instituted as a publicity strategy: advertising to the entire world that G‑d makes miracles for those who stand up for truth and justice. Find out how this mitzvah is done . . .
Tu B'Shevat
New Year for Trees
When’s the last time you wished a tree Happy New Year? The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is a great opportunity. It’s known as Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees.
Prep Up to Purim
Remember, Fast & Give
The Shabbat before Purim is Shabbat Zachor. The day before Purim (in most years) is the Fast of Esther. Learn about the significance of these days and their associated observances.
Purim
The Fun Holiday
Purim is the jolliest, most action-packed day of the Jewish year. 2400 years ago, Haman ordered genocide of the Jews. His plan was thwarted by Esther and Mordechai—and we celebrate!
Passover Preparations
Who is this chametz guy, and how do I get rid of him?
Problem is, our homes are infested with the stuff. That’s why we go on a full search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover. We attack any and all areas where food may enter . . .
Chametz Search and Destroy
Get Clean
Once the house is Passover-tidy, it’s time to do the search-and-destroy ritual, and then to bag and burn the evidence . . .
Matzah
The Edible Mitzvah
Matzah is more than a food, it's the way we relive the Exodus. It's also the only mitzvah we have today that we actually eat and digest...
Seder Preparations
A Royal Feast
The ingredients of the Seder Plate and Seder preparation tips.
The Seder
Digesting Freedom
Egypt. The night before the Exodus. Families sat together, eating matzah and bitter herbs. A then, at midnight, the liberation began. Today, we, their grandchildren,do the same...
The Omer Count
Do you count? Here is how.
Each year we retrace this inner journey. We count the days and weeks. The 50th day is the holiday of Shavuot, when we receive the Torah once again. We call it the “Counting of the Omer.”
Last Days of Passover
Final Freedom
Our liberation was not yet complete. Not until the Sea of Reeds parted for us—and then crashed down to utterly destroy our Egyptian pursuers. Only then did we feel our chains fall away forever.
Omer Mourning Observances
In the 2nd century CE, a plague killed 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiba. During the seven weeks between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot, we commemorate that tragedy with a period of semi-mourning.
Shavuot
And How Is Shavuot Celebrated?
The Torah was given more than 3,300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah. Learn how to celebrate this special holiday . . .
Tisha B’Av
Out of the Darkness
The saddest day on the Jewish calendar is the Ninth of Av, “Tisha B’Av.” It is the date when both our Holy Temples were destroyed, and exile, persecution and spiritual blackness began.
Elul
Inventory Season
Elul is a time to review the past and look at where you’ve come in life. “The King is in the field,” meaning that the G‑dly spark within you is much more accessible, as long as you search for it.
Fast Days
Days of Opportunity
The Jewish calendar contains several fast days, most of them commemorating various landmark events that revolve around the destruction of the Holy Temples. Learn how these days are observed.
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