Pessach 2012

S.T.A.R. News & Events

Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:

April 22, 2012

STAR Teens, Get ready to have the wackiest time of your life at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Click Here for more info.


S.T.A.R. Community Lag B’Omer Extravaganza at the Santa Monica Pier May 9th, 2012. 
Come and join thousands of Jews from all kinds of background on the happiest time of the year.  


1st Day Candle Lighting: 7:00pm
2nd Day Candle Lighting: 7:57pm
Yom Tov Ends Sunday @ 7:58pm


April 12, 7th Day Candle Lighting: 7:05pm
April 13th, 8th day Candle Lighting: 7:06pm 
Shabbat Ends: 8:03 pm 


Torah Message

First Things First



            The Pesach Seder begins with Kiddush, which is the first of the four cups of wine that we are required to drink. Rashi writes (Pesachim 99b) that these four cups correspond to the four expressions of redemption mentioned in the Torah (Shemos 6:6-7). However, this begs the question: even we want to commemorate these four different expressions of freedom at the Seder, why must we specifically do so by drinking four cups of wine as opposed to any other food item, such as eating four apples?

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach explains that the four expressions of redemption aren’t four different phrases connoting freedom, but four different levels of freedom, with each one being higher than the one below it. Therefore, our Sages specifically instituted a requirement to drink four cups of wine because wine is unique in that each additional glass isn’t simply more of what we’ve already had, but rather it qualitatively brings additional joy and happiness.

With apples or any other food, this isn’t the case, as each additional fruit is essentially the same as those which preceded it, and by the third and fourth serving one is already accustomed to it and it adds little additional value. Because we are commemorating the four expressions of redemption and the fact that each represents a higher level of freedom and joy, wine is the appropriate means for doing so.

Alternatively, wine is unique in that it is made from grapes. In their state as grapes, there is nothing particularly special about them, and the blessing recited when eating them is the same as for any other fruit. Only after they have been crushed with the proper amount of pressure does their juice come out, at which point it must be left to ferment in the right environment so that it becomes wine and not vinegar.

In this sense, grapes are a perfect metaphor for the experience of the Jewish people in Mitzrayim. The Egyptians constantly pressed and squeezed the Jewish slaves, but their doing so was part of Hashem’s master plan to subject the Jewish people to a כור הבזרל – iron furnace – in order to purify them and bring out their true greatness.

In fact, the very name Mitzrayim refers to constricting borders, which describes the experience of the Jewish slaves in Egypt. However, just like the liquid secreted by the grapes, the Jews had a choice to succumb to the tests and trials and become vinegar, or to rise and overcome them to maximize their potentials by becoming wine. Because wine is unique in this regard and contains this symbolic message, Chazal specifically commanded us to use it to represent the four expressions of redemption.



Rabbi M. Weiss                                                  Rabbi Y. Sakhai

Community News

Em Habanim Congregation

Weekly Parashat Hashavua class with Rabbi Joshua Bittan on Wednesdays at 8:30pm for more info. visit


Get Well Soon

We urge the whole community and all the jews around the world to pray for two 16 year old boys that were in a tragic accident. May hashem grant them a full Refuah Shelema and may he grant their families patience and nachat, Amen.

Ariel Menachem Chayim ben Miryam & Daniel ben Sara

We wish a speedy recovery for all the Jews that may need it where ever they may be and especially for:

Em Habanim:

Max Barchichat From Sephardic Temple: Al Azus,Buena Angel,
Elaine Leon,Itzchak Rachmanony

From S.T.A.R.:

Mordechai Chaim Ben Chana, Chaim Ben Buena,
Meshulam Dov Ben Chana Sarah

Bracha Eliza Bat Ehteram, Bracha Sara Chaya Bat Ronit,
Donna Devora bat Sara 

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