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Passover Hotels

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When I was a kid, everyone either stayed home or visited relatives for the Passover holiday. But some time between around a decade or two ago, the tend of going to a hotel for Passover gained popularity. Starting in January, we start seeing multiple ads for Passover hotels in Jewish publications. They range from the pedestrian hotels in Miami or New Jersey to top level luxury in European cities. Mind you, this is not something for people on tight budgets, as the costs of even the most modest packages tend to be around $2K per person minimum (without airfare). Many offer a "special" package of $5K pers person. And the real luxurious ones go even higher. Extreme as that sounds, for some people it is the norm, for they feel that it would just be too difficult to prepare for the holiday in their own homes.

I thought it's time to share this little piece from the introduction of Nor the Moon by Night by Devora Gliksman Feldheim 1997 pp. xx-xxi On a fundraising trip for the yeshiva, R' Shliomele visited R' Shimon Wolf Rotschild, of the wealthy and famous Rotschild family. R' Shimon Wolf showed R; Shloimele around his beautiful estate, finally pausing beside a house built of the main house. "And this," R' Shimon Wolf gestured proudly, "this is my Pesach [Passover] house. I built it jut to be used on Pesach. The rest of the year it is kept locked."

R' Shloimele just shrugged his shoulders. R' Shimon wondered why he wasn't impressed. R' Shloimele explained that his holy grandfather -- the Sanzer Rav - though not a wealthy man would have spent anything any amount of money to perform a mitzvah properly. Had he felt hat keeping Pesach properly necessitated building a separate house, he would have done so. Therefore, if he feels he needs it, why shouldn't Baron Rothschild?"

Thinking on the matter further, R' Shloimele saw a downside to a Pesach house: "The gemara says that chumetz can be interpreted as to the yetzer hu'reh [evil inclination]. Our searching for chumetz and destroying it is a mushol [parable] for searching out and destroying the yetzer hu'reh, thereby doing teshivah [repentance]. We know that the only way to do complete teshivah is to put ourselves again in the same situation where we have done an aveirah [sin] and, when the opportunity presents itself, not repeat that aveirah. Therefore, it is only fitting that the house where had eaten chumetz be cleaned out and used for mitzvos -- the mitzvos we perform at the seider, [seder] the mitzvos we perform during Pesach. having a separate house set aside for Pesach does not accomplish that purpose."

So those of us who put in time and effort to make the holiday in our own homes are doing just what the rebbe would approve of. And as our Sages say, "lefoom tza'ara agra" [the reward is commensurate with the effort put in]. In conclusion, there's no place like home for Passover.

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