When we see another person and greet him or her with the traditional ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’, it is often a much more significant exchange than we think. Even the word ‘shalom’ is laden with meaning and conveys so many different messages.

Our Shabbos greeting is ‘Good Shabbos’ or Shabbat Shalom’, and on a chag (holiday) we say ‘Good Yom Tov’ or Chag Samayach’. Interestingly, Pesach (Passover) is the only chag where we traditionally add a word to the customary holiday hello. We add the word kasher, and say: “Chag Kasher Vesamayach”.

Why?

As we all know, the preparation for Pesach is very involved, with intricate requirements that demand our attention. For weeks before the chag begins, Jews are busy planning and preparing to commemorate the great miracle of the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. With the great expenditure of time and energy (and money) in advance of Pesach, we often lose the feeling of joy and celebration that is an integral part of all the major Festivals — the Shalosh Regalim. Then, there is the possibility of deciding to just enjoy oneself, and pay less attention to the halachic requirements of Pesach. Did we remove all the chametz from our homes? Did we drink the four cups of wine at the Seder? Were we careful of the mitzva of ‘Seepur Yetziat Mitzrayim’, of telling the story of the Exodus?

We add the word ‘kasher’ to the Pesach greeting, wishing everyone we see the ability to sucessfully incorporate both aspects of the holiday — a careful observance of the extra ‘halachot’ that accompany it, and the ability to celebrate with joy and gladness.

Beile joins me in wishing everyone in the Roslyn Synagogue family “Chag Kasher VeSamayach”.

Robert D. Block

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