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The unpretentious houses of Alvar Aalto.
By Witold Rybczynski
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at 11:12 AM ET

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Passover: A Time for Spiritual Cleansings

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Israel Insights

Passover: A Time for Spiritual Cleansings
Passover: A Time for Spiritual Cleansings
Rabbi Daniel Jackson

During the last several weeks, the regular weekly reading of the Torah was accompanied by a series of special readings, starting with Parshat Shekalim that announces the annual obligation to pay the ritual half shekel tax for the maintenance of the Temple. In so doing, these readings proclaim that this year's holy season of Passover has begun.

In practical terms, in every Jewish home, this is the time to clean house. Chametz, or leavening, permitted throughout the year, suddenly becomes a thing of dread-forbidden in any quantity. At an increasing pace, culminating on the night before Passover, Jewish households search out even the smallest speck of Chametz and cast it out. This week, a neighbor removed the seats and mats from his car, practically to the rocker panels, thoroughly cleaning all traces of cookies, chips, and cake left by his children to and from school.

Most of us, however, wait until after Purim. Purim provides an opportunity to get rid of lots of Chametz-cakes, cookies, pasta, cereal, whiskey-anything with a leavening agent has got to go. We even give it away to our neighbors as "gifts of food". This is a perfect time for a celebration because, at least in my house, after Purim it all gets tossed.

The dietary restriction on eating leavened products extends beyond "bread" per se, and attaches to the active ingredient, the leavening agent referred to as Chametz. Often defined as a souring or fermenting ingredient in food, Chametz is permitted throughout the year in everything. From noon on the day before Passover begins, continuing for the next seven days, Chametz becomes forbidden.

Moreover, the prohibition of Chametz is not just with respect to food items but with anything with which Chametz has come in contact. Pots, pans, utensils, shelves, storage bins, computer keyboards, clothing, and any location where family members are likely to take food made with leavening requires thorough cleaning.

Spiritual Cleansing

From a spiritual perspective, this period of time before the Holy Festival of Passover, a time of preparation, is itself sacred . Holy times demand some sort of spiritual separation from everyday work and play. To demarcate the approach of sacred space and time, it is necessary to prepare our households as well as our selves.

Perhaps this is the reason that Chametz is invested with so much meaning and interpretation. More than simply a thing, Chametz is a process. At the surface level, Chametz is the process of fermentation when moisture comes in contact with grain and grain products. It is a souring agent that has many wonderful properties: one causes bread to rise and another improves the flavor of that combination of flour, water, oil, and salt.

Yet, Chametz is also associated with craving and excess. During sacred time and space, the goal is to pull back from personal desires and drives and focus on the spiritual side of existence. While fermentation creates wine, too much produces vinegar-in Hebrew, the lengthening of the vowel "a" transforms Chametz to Chometz-vinegar.

My wife's view is that adding Chametz to bread causes it to swell symbolic of pride, an ingredient in daily life that a little goes a long way. In small doses, pride manifests as self esteem; too much pride becomes arrogance-a souring agent in any social setting. During Passover, however, through eating the Bread of Affliction, we learn from the poor, who are without pride, in order to acquire a taste for humility.

Separation from Idol Worship

Underlying all of the explanations for the Passover process there remains one central question: Why do we celebrate the Passover? Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz, the author of the book The Two Tablets of the Covenant, directs our attention to Exodus 34: 17-18.

You shall make for yourself no molten gods. The Feast of Unleavened Bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Aviv; for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.

That pretty much covers it. Keep the Feast of Unleavened bread for seven days in the spring to remember the Exodus because I, God, told you to do so. Clear? But, why is the prohibition of molten idols included with the observance of Passover? What is the association between idol worship and Chametz?

Return to God

At the core of Jewish life is the centrality of God. It is the first of the Ten Sayings.

I am the Lord your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. You shall have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20: 2-3]

Anything that stands between God and each of us represents a barrier to our relationship with God. The very act of creating or molding things, actions, ideas, even our emotions into focal points that absorb our attention away from the Divine Presence is idol worship pure and simple. Among the reasons for the Exodus was, and still remains, our separation from idols and false gods.

When the quest for the material things in life, such as position, tenure, or fame, absorbs us so completely that we no longer see our way to God's gift of life, then we have created an idol as vile as the Golden Calf. It is that taste, not of the forbidden, but of excess, that is the message of this season. Just as we can make things holy, like Shabbat, we make things horrific. The choice is ours. Turn away or return to God's way. How do we do this? Well, we can start by casting out Chametz and watching with what we seek to fill our mouths.

Rabbi Daniel Jackson is frequent contributor to Travelujah.com. He lives in Efrat and is affiliated with the Center for Christian Jewish Understanding and Cooperation in Efrat where he teaches Christians on a host of topics related to furthering understanding of the Jewish roots of Christsianity. 

Travelujah is the only Christian social network focused on travel to Israel. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah. For further information on Christian tourism to Israel  please contact Holy Land Tours - Travelujah.

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AVVC: This is the Big One - $1 to $20.78

Fact: In 2010 Alone, The Mobile Application Industry Exploded To $6.1 Billion! That Number Is Set To TRIPLE Again This Year!

AVVC Can Return You Huge Profits By Grabbing Up To 25% Of This Booming Market!

Huge profits? Yes, by acting today on AVVC, you could easily grab 1,978% profits as the mobile application
(or 'app' for short) industry triples again in 2011! As this forward thinking company secures a huge chunk of this $6.1 Billion pie, you could watch as…


Your meager $5,000 investment jumps to $103,900 or - your $10,000 rockets to $207,800 - all by August 1st, 2011! 


It's the fastest growing trend in the history of financial markets…

But amazingly Wall Street hasn't figured it out yet.

From 5 to 95 year olds, and everyone in between...

Mobile application downloads for every wireless device are being created and multiplying so quickly - that even statisticians from the prestigious Yale University can't put an accurate figure on its growth.

With tens of millions of apps being downloaded on a daily basis…

Investors with the right stocks are multiplying their wealth faster than in any time in American history.

Perhaps you've heard of "apps"…

In fact, you've probably downloaded 5 or more in the past 30 days.

Clearly, someone's getting rich…

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By buying AVVC today, you'll secure the very enviable position of getting in on the ground floor of this historical mega-trend…

Resulting in profits that are near unimaginable.


The apps market is the single most powerful way to get rich in the stock market today.

But that won't last long… hopefully I've reached you in time.

Because though Wall Street is like turning a cruise ship, once it's charted it's new course, it's too late to make any real money.

What's left is meager returns for the average investor…

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That's why I so urgently write you today, hi, I'm Eric Dickson and I am so excited to reveal this company to you, it's hard to contain my words to paper.

Frankly, it's what it must have felt like to find the first rock sized nuggets of gold during the 1849 gold rush.

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Buying AVVC right now, means the very real possibility that you'll be looking at $22 a share in a year or less, as the mobile application market triples again, reaching $18.1 Billion in that time.

Yours In Advanced Profits,

Eric Dickson
Editor, Breakaway Stocks

PS. While I believe strongly that AVVC will be trading at $3.35 (as you'll see in a minute) it's entirely possible it can be trading north of $20.78 by year's end, that's anywhere from between 300% to 2,000% returns on a stock you can buy now for only $1.

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Power Point with Jack Graham

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Looking forward to eternity with God

April 27, 2011

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 19:9

I had a good friend by the name of Gene who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer years ago. And not long after his diagnosis, he went to be with the Lord. Now, his pastor was Dr. O. S. Hawkins, who is another one of my longtime friends. Gene and O.S. were closer than any two men I’d ever met.

Dr. Hawkins was with Gene in the last hours of his life. He was reading him some Scripture about heaven and by this time, Gene knew that he was on his way there soon. So his pastor was reading about God wiping away the tears from our eyes and how there would be no more pain.

And then O.S. read about the marriage supper of the Lamb and told Gene about how he was going to be there feasting with the Lord. So Gene looked up at his pastor, gave him a wink, and said, “Pastor, I’ll save you a place next to me at the table.”

If you’re in Christ, you’ve already accepted his invitation to that celebration. You’ve sent in your RSVP, and each day is a countdown to when you’ll celebrate with the Lord forever. So as the pains and sicknesses of life increase, remember that there’s a day drawing near when you’ll forever be in God’s glorious presence!


For more from PowerPoint Ministries and Dr. Jack Graham, please visit www.jackgraham.org
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Dear Friend,

I want to send you a special gift that will help make getting into God's Word easy for you or someone you care about.

It's a copy of the ESV Share the Good News New Testament, and I'd like to send it to you as my way of saying thanks for your online donation to PowerPoint Ministries.

This version of the New Testament includes reading plans and topical guides for locating key verses and passages, and it's perfect for people who are new to the Bible or those who like to find a quick Bible reference.

So request a copy of the ESV Share the Good News New Testament when you give your online gift today.

Thank you for giving to help PowerPoint continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!  --Jack Graham


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