Jerusalem – Back To Bread: Israelis Celebrate Mimouna

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     A handout picture provided by the Israeli Government Press Office shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2-L) and his wife Sara (3-L) attending Mimuna celebrations in Or Akiva, Israel, 01 April 2013. Mimuna marks the start of spring and is celebrated by eating leavened food which forbidden during the Jewish holiday of Passover.  EPA/KOBI GIDEONJerusalem – Traditional post-Passover festivities, known as Mimouna celebrations, were held around the country on Monday night and Tuesday with several politicians taking part in the lively events.

    Deputy Religious Affairs Minister and Bayit Yehudi MK Rabbi Eliahu Ben-Dahan attended a Mimouna in Ashkelon on Monday night, along with MK Yoni Chetboun, also of Bayit Yehudi.

    The celebration is a tradition that began in the Jewish communities of North Africa, in which families open up their homes to guests and provide leavened products, prohibited during Passover, such as bread, cakes and various other delicacies including mufletta, a type of pancake eaten with honey.

    The festival has since been widely adopted throughout Israel.

    Speaking at the event, Ben- Dahan, who was born in Morocco, said that the festival provides a message of unity.

    “The Mimouna festivities symbolize, above all, the unity of the Jewish people around the world in the belief and trust of the coming of the Messiah,” the minister said.

    Ben-Dahan explained that the rabbis of Morocco worried that at the end of the Passover holiday, a time defined by freedom and redemption, the Jews of the community would still not feel redeemed. The rabbis feared the community would be despondent and their faith in their ultimate redemption would decrease.

    The rabbis therefore established the tradition “to strengthen the faith and trust [of the community] in the redemption of the Jewish people and the coming of the Messiah,” Ben-Dahan said.

    Chetboun, whose parents immigrated from Morocco to Israel, lauded the celebration as a cultural contribution to the state.

    “The Mimouna is the warmth and hospitality which immigrants from Morocco and North Africa contributed to Israeli society,” Chetboun said.

    “Above the arguments and the differences between cultures and communities, and for sure beyond the political arguments, we are all one people and its important to remember this.

    “We must also remember the spiritual value of the Mimouna as a sign of the expectation and yearning for the coming of the redeemer at the end of Passover, from the redemption of Egypt to the future redemption.”

    Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also attended a Mimouna in the capital, saying that the holiday unites the people and the country.

    Economy and Trade Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett attended a Mimouna in the southern city of Netivot and helped make the muflettot at the event.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara also attended a Mimouna festival, traveling to a local celebration in Or Akiva.

    Content provided as courtesy of The Jerusalem Post

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    10 COMMENTS

      • What is your problem? There is nothing that exists that you haven’t heard of? If it isn’t your minhag it isn’t Jewish! Oh I forgot, you say that liberalism is a disease. I don’t think conservatism is a disease, but you prove that some conservatives are, at best, small minded.

    1. I heard from a Sefardi friend in kollel, who’s family is from Morocco, that the frum roots of the holiday in Morocco (before it became a secular Israeli holiday) was to inspire achdus and neighborly trust after Pesach, since we don’t traditionally eat from each others’ cooking during Yom Tov (Pesach). This is just like the Chumash tells us, that the korban Pesach was eaten in groups, and many people don’t eat from others’ foods throughout Yom Tov where they didn’t have the seder. Therefore, in Morocco, the day following Pesach, families would set up their tables with all kinds of foods and delicacies and everyone in the community would make the rounds of the neighborhood eating from everyone else’s offerings – to reinforce that nothing personal was meant by the Pesach isolation from each other. Unfortunately, this beautiful occasion has degenerated today into a secular excuse for a holiday all around Israel with barely a remnant of its holiness apparent except with the religious.

    2. The Moroccan minhag, according to one version, is akin to the Seudas Moshiac that the Chasidim celebrate, though the Moroccan Jewish community was flourishing way before the Chasidim showed up in Jewish history a few hundred of years ago. My mechunanim in Bet Shean always invite us to come up north and celebrate with them, but my Ashkenazi stomach tells me to stay home.

      • To Yoilish #7 and to NeveAliza #8 (and also to anyone else who is still the least bit interested):

        E i g h t days? Why should “these guy actually refrain from eating the levened stuff for the pas e i g h t days!?”

        Spelling & typographical errors aside,” these guys” live in Israel (within Eretz Yisrael, which is an even wider catchment area) and so they are not required “to eat the levened stuff” for longer than seven days anyway.

        Quoting [Insert”Haposek Shel Kol haPoskim shel doreinu” :

        [insert irony smiley)], “Passover is a spring festival, so the 15th day of Nisan begins on the night of a full moon after the northern vernal equinox.

        “To ensure that Passover did not start before spring, the tradition in ancient Israel held that the first day of Nisan would not start until the barley was ripe, being the test for the onset of spring. If the barley was not ripe, or various other phenomena indicated that spring was not yet imminent, an intercalary month (Adar II) would be added. However, since at least the 4th century, the date has been fixed mathematically.” [/insert irony smiley]

        So, Israelis,living in Eretz Israel, have observed the din.

        QED!

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