The flat-out guide to Pessah vacation observance

Spending the holiday in a resort poses some tricky questions. Dip in here for the answers!

hilton taba 88 (photo credit: )
hilton taba 88
(photo credit: )
In all the years of spending Pessah at home or with relatives, I assumed I knew the major laws pertaining to the holiday. However, after perusing the ads for Pessah vacations, and actually spending time at a Pessah hotel program, I've come to realize that there must be some laws that we never covered in school, such as: • Although one may travel to ski resorts in Switzerland, Canada and Colorado, it is preferable to celebrate the holiday in a warm climate, similar to that of Israel. It is proper, therefore, to participate in rabbinically-supervised programs such as "Torah, Torah in Bora Bora." • One who does not partake of tea-room refreshments three times a day has still fulfilled the holiday's requirements. • In Hawaii, while it is customary to have a luau on the beach on the second night of Hol Hamoed, any other night is likewise permissible. Some make a sandwich out of roasted matza and pineapple. • Upon making Havdala after a Shabbat that coincides with the festival, some recite the "Borei minei besamim" blessing on the spices over a Hawaiian lei. • Most halachic arbiters agree that barbecues, magic shows, excursions and Israeli dance lessons can be scheduled for any day during Hol Hamoed. • When immersing oneself in a Jacuzzi or hot tub, it is appropriate to think of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. • There are those whose custom it is to enter into a sauna, put hot rocks on their backs, wrap themselves in moist sheets, put clay on their faces and afflict themselves in other ways in order to experience the pain of the Egyptian slavery. • Some add the following verse to Ehad Mi Yodea near the end of the Haggada: "Who knows 10? Ten is the number of days in the vacation package, and additional charges will be made for extended stays." • At breakfast each morning, before one eats a Spanish omelet, fruit smoothie or hash brown potatoes, it is customary to recite: "Thus did Hillel." • Those eating gebroch and non-gebroch may occupy seats at the same table and adjacent rooms in the hotel. • After counting the Omer each night, some take it upon themselves to count their cholesterol levels throughout the festival. Careful adherence to these new guidelines will undoubtedly lead all of us to a greater appreciation of the deeper meaning of the holiday.