Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: MOADIM Category:PESACH Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 A Night to Remember All Year Round

On the revered night of Lel HaSeder on Pesach we have a special mitzvah of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim, telling the story of how we were rescued from Mitzrayim. Yet every day of the year we have what seems to be the same mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim, which we fulfill by mentioning it in Krias Shema. What makes Pesach special and what is the difference?

One of the answers given is that on Pesach we retell in detail the entire story and relive it as if it happened to us. To do this is not practical on a regular basis, nor would it be productive since it would lose its special excitement. Once we have done this on Pesach, it is sufficient each day to "remind" ourselves of what we spent hours discussing on Pesach night. All we need to do is make reference to it and we've accomplished our goal. That is why the mitzvah on Pesach is Sipur to "retell", while all year the mitzvah is "zechirah" simply a reminder.

Maybe we can add that on Pesach there is a Mitzvah to envision oneself leaving Mitzrayim. This is not just the a duty of the imagination. Many great people take it a step further and spend time discussing how Hashem rescued them from their own personal Mitzrayim.

Going through life we each have our own trials and tribulations and Pesach is a time to reflect on how at the time, we thought we would never see daylight, yet somehow things sorted themselves out and we are still standing. We have made it to another Pesach despite it all. We have much to thank Hashem each year on Pesach night. Just as he rescued our forefathers, even today He continues to rescue us in our darkest hour.

If we take advantage of Pesach and recognize Hashem's redemption in our own personal lives, then Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim each morning and evening takes on a new dimension. When we wake up to face another rough day we can take solace in the fact that we personally have witnessed Hashem rescue us when we thought there was no hope. And when we end a most difficult day that didn't turn out the way we needed it to, we comfort ourselves in knowing that Hashem is watching us and in due time it will all be for the good!

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 03:00:00 +0000
Krias Yam Suf: Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch - Bnei Yisroel's Good Sense Of Humor When Bnei Yisroel was pinned between the raging waters of the Yam Suf and the bloodthirsty army of Mitzrayim seeking revenge, they did not expect to survive the ordeal.  They turned to Moshe and asked (Bishalach 14:11)  "HaMibli Ein Kevarim B'Mitzrayim"  why did you take us out of Mitzrayim, was there a shortage of burial plots that you took us to the desert to die?

Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch says as follows.  There was sharp irony in their words.  Even at the moment of fear and total unsurpassable despair, the Torah points out Bnei Yisroel's positive character trait of being able to sustain a good sense of humor.  This, says Rav Hirsch, is a trademark of the children of Yaakov who at even the darkest moment, can retain their clear thinking and intellectual capability.

Sun, 04 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
A Vegetarian Pesach in Kotzk? Someone once asked the Kotzker Rebbe, if the Torah is so machmir on even one drop of Chometz why eat matza at all.  One mistake in the bakery and you can end up eating Chometz.  Why not just eat vegetables for the entire Pesach and staying as far away from Chometz altogether.  Similarly the Shir Maon asks, why do we make matza only out of a kind of grain that could become Chometz.  Let’s eat matza from rice, which has no possibility of becoming Chometz.

They answer is that our avodah is to vanquish the Yetzer Hara.  Battling him and winning is our purpose in life.  A person is not created like a Malach without a Yetzer Hara.  The yetzer hara is called Chometz (Si’or SheB’isah) as he spoils our purity.  We cannot avoid him.  We need to live with his constant threats but we are responsible to still keep ourselves one hundred percent kosher without a drop of Chometz.

Fri, 02 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
The Brisker Rov - Staying Awake All Pesach Night Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik zt”l, The Brisker Rov, always wondered why people are so particular to stay awake the entire night of Shavuos which is a Minhag, while on Pesach night where there is a Halacha Mifureshes to talk about Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim the entire night until you fall asleep, people are not as diligent.

In fact in Brisk they were not Makpid to stay awake the entire night of Shavuos.  They reasoned that Shavuos was no different than every other night, as Torah is a year round activity.  Moreover learning Shavuos at night is not more important than learning Shavuos by day, unlike Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim where the mitzva is the night of the Seder. (Uvdos V’Hanhogos L’Bais Brisk vol. 2 p. 79)

Mon, 29 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Kotzker Rebbe: Why The Third Shift Of The Korban Pesach Didn't Make It The Mishna in Pesachim (5:7) says that the Korban Pesach was brought in three shifts.  One third of the Yidden waiting to bring their Korban Pesach filled the azara each shift.  While the Kohanim shected the korbanos, the Yidden would say Hallel over and over, until the Kohanim finished the avodah of every person's Korban.  The Mishna says "MiMeihem Shel Kas Shlishis Lo Higia LAhavti... Mipnei SheAma Muatim", the third shift never even reached Ahavti (in Hallel) the first time around because there were so few people in that group.

The Kotzker Rebbe quips that has they reached "Ahavti", had they reached the lelvel of loving Hashem, they would have been in one of the first two groups and not waited until the end!

Mon, 29 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Drink The Kos Of Birchas HaMazon For Real Freedom The four kosos represent the four lashonos of geula that are unique to Pesach night.  The third kos is the kos that we drink for Birchas HaMazon.  Birchas HaMazon always has a kos.  Why is this considered one of the four kosos of freedom on Pesach?

Rav Uziel Miletzky answers that a person can have freedom from many things and feel really independent. However he says there is one freedom that is harder to achieve than others.  That is freedom from believing that your efforts bring you Parnasa.  When it comes to health, children, and many other areas, with a little hard work and experience we manage to teach ourselves that it all comes from Hashem.  However when it comes to our livelihood we more often than not hide behind the guise of “Hishtadlus” because we are just not sure that Hashem really grasps the business world.

When a person can say with a full mouth and whole heart the words, “Hazan Es HaOlam Kulo Bituvo B’Chen B’Chesed…Hu Nosen Lechem”; all our wealth and earnings come only from Hashem with kindness and mercy, through absolutely no help of our own, only then is a person truly free.  At that point he can raise his kos and celebrate the freedom of Mitzrayim, the freedom to serve Hashem with his whole heart.

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Freedom On The First Day, Freedom On The Last Day Yetzias Mitzrayim and Zman Cheiruseinu are on the first day of Pesach.  On the seventh day of Pesach our oppressors met their final fate.  Which is the real day that we were freed?  The Maharal says that the number seven represents the earthly world.  It was created in seven days and the world goes in cycles of seven, Shabbos, Shmitah, among others.  On the seventh the world is complete.  The eighth is beyond this world.  It is the world of Ruchniyos.  It is where man rises above this world.  Mila is the first mitzva a person does and we do it on the eighth day.

On the first day of Pesach we were freed from Mitzrayim to explore the world.  We learned that it is not all that we dreamed it would be.  Even as free people in the world enemies will still pursue us.  We don't understand the things that happen to us from a natural point of view.  On the seventh day the geula was complete.  We saw Hashem with our own eyes and understood everything.  We understood that there is something beyond this world, far greater than the smallness of the universe and the events that unfold in it.

On the first day we are freed in this world but on the seventh day we were freed from this world.  We are empowered to put civilization behind us and enter a barren wasteland abandoned by the civilized world and prepare to enter the real world, the world of the Torah.


Tue, 14 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Matza, Is It Bread Of Affliction Or Bread Of Freedom? What is the secret behind the dual personality of the Matza?  The Matza is called Lechem Oni, the bread of our affliction.  Yet it also the symbol of our freedom, as the Hagada says we eat matza because when we left Mitzrayim the matza baked on our backs.  On the other hand we break it in half and we says that this is what our forefathers ate in Mitzrayim.  Yet we eat it reclining like kings unlike the Maror which we eat sitting erect because it reminds us of the pain.  What is the answer to this riddle?

Maybe we can offer an explanation.  The matza was fed to us as slaves since it is simple, made only of flour and water, and is easy to bake quickly, sparing the Mitzrim any effort in the kitchen.  Its tough constitution makes it difficult to digest and keeps a slave satisfied for a maximum amount of time.  As slaves in Mitzrayim we were not very spiritual.  Our biggest concern was our next meal as the constant hunger hounded us.  We ate the matza fed to us by our captives dreaming about eating delicious meals and satiating our appetite in style.

Then came the geula.  Hashem sent Moshe to redeem us and instill in us belief.  Through all the miracles we saw there was a Hashem with a light so bright and ways so sweet that we just wanted to come close to it.  Suddenly freedom meant more than a good meal.  We wanted the light, we wanted the Torah.  To absorb this light we needed, and were happy, to shed our animalistic desires.  This freed us in a true sense.

At first we weren't quite ready for the Heavenly Mun so Hashem gave us the most perfect natural food, Matza.  Its simplicity does not overload our body or contaminate our mind.  It is the most basic of all foods and sufficient for survival without any indulgence.  Its ease of preparation frees us from the kitchen and enables us to spend our precious time on more spiritual pursuits.  The matza is the bread of freedom.

Our freedom on Pesach is best symbolized by the Matza.  It tells the story of how we were freed and transformed from mortal slaves to a nation of princes, servants of Hashem.  Just like the requirements Torah and the Mitzvos, Matza is a food that represents slavery to those bound by worldly pursuits and freedom for those who defy gravity and need wings to reach the Heavens.

Mon, 13 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shimshon Pincus: The Glorious Maror Takes Center Stage The items on the Ki’ara (seder plate) represent the middos of Hashem.  The Z’roa and Beitza represent Hashem’s kindness and strength.  The Maror situated smack in middle of the Ki’ara represents the Midda of Tiferes, elaborate and glorious.  Maror is bitter.  Maror has the same gematria as Maves, death.  What is so glorious about bitterness and death?  Why is it in the center spot?

Rav Shimshon Pincus explains that Hashem’s abundant kindness may be more desirable to us, yet it may not be the best thing for us.  If we have everything and need nothing then we will not realize that we are dependent on Him.  Since our relationship with Hashem is our lifeline and our reason to exist, overwhelming kindness can be fatal.  It can cause the severing of our bond with Him and terminate our existence.  The same would result if we lived forever.  One of the things that keeps us connected to Hashem no matter what, is the fact that one day, life will end and we will need to stand before Him and give an accounting of all our lifetime actions.

When a father gives his child a new bike because he wants his child to be happy, we call that kindness.  This kindness can result in a happier more loyal child and it can also be the source of great tragedy.  When a father gives his child a punishment for crossing the street without looking, he saves his life.  That is glorious beauty.  Hashem’s Chesed starts off the Ki’ara because that is a fantastic way to start.  But the Maror is the glue in the middle.  It holds us together.  It doesn’t get more glorious than that!

Mon, 06 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Happiness At The Seder During A Depression We celebrate Yetzias Mitzrayim with royalty like Kings.  We rejoice on the night of our freedom.  But what about those of us who have been laid off or feel our livelihoods are teetering on the edge of a very steep cliff, and have seen our life savings wiped out?  Can we find joy in the seder night and the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim?  Granted out plight is still the best its been in the past 2000 years, but we can't pay our mortgage, tuition, and grocery bill with a history book.  And it surely won't calm our fear about our very uncertain future.  Where should we find the hidden light in this story of old?

Avadim Hayinu L'Paroh B'Mitzrayim.  There was a time that we were slaves.  We did not our own selves.  Moshe's role and negotiations with Paroh was to create an identity for Am Yisroel.  The Bnei Yisroel needed to be torn out from the fabric of Mitzrayim to which they had lost their identity.  Hope?  There was no hope.  A slave is bereft of all hope, and certainly when they have been enslaved for many generations.  They had every reason to be depressed and sad.

Nevertheless Hashem came and rescued them.  Yes it happened.  It was beyond a fantasy.  It was too much to dream for.  Ever since then Yetzias Mitzrayim is our legacy.  We have been persecuted, we have been plundered, ostracized, murdered, and expelled in almost every stop we have made along the way.  Yet history teaches us that at the end there is always a Yetzias Mitzrayim.  We know that Hashem is good to his word and it will always happen.  The light will always shine again no matter how far we have fallen.

It is the same with our personal lives.  Our lives are a series of ups and downs.  Some of us more steep than others.  No ones life has been perfect in all respects.  At one point or another we have all had a problem that we thought we would never survive intact.  And yet here we are V'Hi She'amda, we are still standing!  Somehow all the bills got paid, the rifts have mended, the troubles faded from memory.

B'tzais Yisroel Mi'Mitzrayim, it happens just like in Mitzrayim.  Hayam Ra'ah Vayanos, the sea of troubles that threaten to engulf us runs away.  HaHarim Rakdu K'Eilim, the great mountains standing in our way that are impossible to scale, scamper away like rams.  How?  Milifnei Adon Chuli Aretz, we stand before the master of the world who can turn the world upside down in an instant.

This year let's blur the timelines just a shade and raise a Kos of freedom to the past and also to the not too distant future.  The present?  Two out of three is not so bad... and besides it will be gone in a heartbeat.

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Why Is This Night('s Mitzva) Different Than All The Other Nights It is a Mitzvah Min ha'Torah to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim both during the day and at night. It is also a special Mitzvas Aseh to discuss the topic of Yetzias Mitzrayim on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan – the first night of Pesach. How is the Mitzvah to discuss Yetzias Mitzrayim on the night of Pesach different from the Mitzvah to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim every night? Although every night we are only obligated to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim and on the night of Pesach we are obligated to discuss at length the topic of Yetzias Mitzrayim, however the Ran says that discussing Yetzias Mitzrayim at length on the night of Pesach is only a Mitzvah Min ha’Muvchar, but one discharges his obligation by merely mentioning Yetzias Mitzrayim.  

The Minchas Chinuch answers that on the night of Pesach we have a special Mitzvah to discuss Yetzias Mitzrayim with our children. If one does not have children to discuss Yetzias Mitzrayim with, then the Mitzvah on the night of the fifteenth is no different that the Mitzvah to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim every night.

However, the Maharal MiPrague, in Gevuras Hashem, says that even if one does not have children the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim on the night of Pesach is a different Mitzvah than the Mitzvah to recite Yetzias Mitzrayim every night because the Mitzvah on the night Pesach is to publicize the miracles that occurred in Mitzrayim. The principle Mitzvah is to publicize it to our children, however if we don’t have children we can fulfill the Mitzvah by publicizing it to each other. Therefore Chazal teach us (Pesachim 116a) that if we don’t have children our wives shall ask the questions of the Mah Nishtana and if not we shall ask ourselves the questions.

Fri, 27 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Get The Yeast Out! The gemara in Brachos (17a) says that after Shmoneh Esrei R' Alexandri would say, "Ribono Shel Olam it is clear before you that we want to do only your wishes.  What is holding back, "Si'or SheBi'Isa" the yeast in the dough.  Rashi says this refers to the Yetzer Hara in our hearts who makes us Chametz.  

The Shach in Po'el Tzedek says that Pesach is the time we do "Tashbisu" we chase the Chametz or the Yetzer Hara out of our homes and hearts and return to Hashem.  The Peleh Yo'etz adds that Tashbisu is not a remez to the yetzer hara, rather it is the pshat!

By Matan Torah Hashem tells us "V'Hiyisem Li", you will be mine.  The Masok HaOr brings from the Otzar HaChaim that the letters of the word "Si'or" Sin, Aleph, Reish, are all found in the word Yisroel.  If you take the Si'or out of the word Yisroel, the remaining letters are Lamed and Yud or "Li" or to me.

On Pesach we chase out the spoilage from within our hearts.  Then we become Hashem's Am Segula and are ready to stand at har Sinai for the Matan Torah of Shavuos.

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Only at Krias Yam Suf Did Bnei Yisroel Recognize Hashem? At Krias Yam Suf the pasuk (Shemos 14:31) says “VaYaaminu B’ashem”; Bnei Yisroel believed in Hashem.  Were Yetzias Mitzrayim and the ten makkos not convincing enough for them?  The Bais HaLevi teaches us an important yesod.  He says that all that happened in Mitzrayim was punishment for the Mitzrim for their brutal treatment of Bnei Yisroel.  Bnei Yisroel in their own right was not ready for the geula since we were supposed to wait 400 years and only 210 years had elapsed.  It was simply the overzealous oppression on the part of the Mitzrim that got them in trouble and as a side effect led to our early redemption.  The ten makkos were punishment for them, as nature changed its course to rein terror on Mitzrayim and avenge their cruelty.  We however had no zechus in which to be redeemed.  We were no angels ourselves.  This is why we were told to stay indoors during Makas Bechoros, since we had no merit with which to be spared Hashem’s fury.

Krias Yam Suf was quite the opposite. We already had the mitzvos of Mila and Korban Pesach to our credit.  The entire basis of the miracle was not Hashem’s revenge on Mitzrayim; rather it was mercy on us who were facing annihilation while trapped on the bank of the sea before a bloodthirsty enemy.  Hashem did a Nes that was pure rachmanus, as he changed Maasei Bereishis to allow us to pass through the raging waters.  The death of Mitzrayim was not the Nes.  That was simply the result of people trying to walk through a stormy sea.  No big surprise that they ended up dead.  

The Nisim in Mitzrayim were revenge or din, which is represented by the name Elokim.  That is the powerful Hashem we saw in Mitzrayim.  However on the Yam Suf we saw an all merciful Hashem who changed nature to save his beloved children.  Not only that, but we also witnessed how an all merciful Hashem can use his mercy to kill and destroy our enemies.  That was a concept that Bnei Yisroel never knew existed.  Only at Krias Yam Suf did the Bnei Yisroel see the great hand of “Hashem” the merciful, and not in Mitzrayim.

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Cured By Matza, Growth Through Chometz

Chazal tell us that chometz or Se’or SheBiIsah is the Yetzer Hara (Brachos 17a). Pesach is the time of year that we rid ourselves of him and his evil completely. This begs the question of why is it that we stay away from Chometz for only seven or eight days a year, why do we ever get near that stuff?  

The Baalei Mussar say that Matza is called “Nahama D’Asvusa” the bread that cures us.  They explain with the following Mashal.  When a baby is born it drinks only the milk of its mother.  Mother’s milk is completely sterile and loaded with all the vital nutrients that a baby needs during the critical early period of its life.  Why then are babies eventually weaned and start to eat other foods that are less than perfect?   The answer is that while mother’s milk is wholesome and pure it is only a short term solution.  In the long term a person needs other nutrients to grow.  These nutrients can be found only in foods that are not 100% perfect.  But in order to grow to be a perfectly normal functioning adult one needs these nutrients as well and has to find a way to eat them safely.  One's diet must be balanced in order to derive benefit from the foods without being harmed.  We must choose our foods with the aim to eat the ones that provide us benefit not the ones that give us pleasure or else we will get harmed.

So too while living in a sterile atmosphere is important to cure us and recharge us for seven days a year, living in this environment is not our mission in life. We can’t live without a yetzer hara.  We are here to stand toe to toe with him and face up to his challenges.  This is the purpose of our being in this world.  Sure it’s safe and cozy on the home front basking in the glow of Pesach but that is not where the battle is won or lost.  After our furlough we must go wage war in the trenches. We must eat the chometz and draw out all the benefits and not let it kill us.   We must find in our worldly and mundane lives ways to serve Hashem and not fall into the traps in this world.  We need to remember that everything here is a tool to reach Olam Haba and not for our own pleasure.  Only then can we grow and come back next year to another homecoming celebration where Hashem will once again lovingly care for us and feed us Matza to cure all our injuries and ailments that we suffered in battle throughout the year. 

It is not for nothing that Chazal say that hashem said "Tov" after creating of the Yetzer Tov and when he created the Yetaer Hara Hashem expressed his satisfaction with words Tov M’Od  .  So enjoy your Pesach “vacation” and eat your Matza because right after Yom Tov is over the Yimei Tov M’Od begin. it’s back to business and time to deal with the Chometz.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Maharal: Four Times Free

Chazal instituted the Mitzvah of the four Kosos which represent the four terms used for the redemption v’Hotzeisi v’Hotzalti v’Goalti v’Lakachti. What is the significance of the four terms for the redemption? Why wasn’t one term for the redemption sufficient?

The Maharal says (Gevuras Hashem 30) that each term for the redemption represented a different aspect of our redemption. We were first redeemed from the affliction of the backbreaking work that the Egyptians imposed on us, however we still remained servants to Mitzrayim. Subsequently we were redeemed from servitude of Mitzrayim but we still were sojourners in a land that was not ours. We were then completely released from Mitzrayim but we had not yet entered into the covenant of Hashem Yisborach. When we entered into the covenant of Hashem at the time of Matan Torah that was the fourth and final step of the Geulah Shele’imah from Mitzrayim.

Sun, 13 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Pesach: Experience Real Freedom, Break Out of The Moment The Even Ezra (See Peleh Yoetz “DaAga”) says “HeAvar Ayin” the past is gone.  “HaAsid Adayin” the future has not arrived yet.  “V’HaHoveh K’Heref Ayin” and the present only takes a split second.  Therefore he concludes, “DaAga Minayin?” Why worry, nothing actually matters in the long term. Rav Simcha Zisel Brodie Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron says this sums up the meaning of slavery.  A person whose whole life is about caring only about himself and caring only about the moment is a slave.  He is trapped in “the moment”.

A free person, he says, cares not only about himself but his concern traverses the entire world, the entire creation.  He lives not only the present but also the past and the future.  On Pesach we get to exhibit our freedom.  Our spirit of freedom soars as we immerse ourselves in years long gone by.  We care about the past and we relive it.  Our heart rises and falls as we retell the story of the Galus and Geula of Am Yisroel.  “Chayav Adam Lir’os Es Atzmo K’Ilu Hu Yatza MiMitztrayim.”  By truly feeling as if you have left Mitzrayim you have captured the essence of the seder.  You have freed yourself from your own bondage from the slavery of self.  (Hagadah Shai L’Torah – Brisk)

Mon, 07 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000

The first mention of the name Nisan is in Megilas Esther when Haman draws lots to decide which day of the year he will kill the Yehudim.  This event, says the Megila, took place in the month of Nisan.  The Bnei Yisaschar says the name Nisan is for “Nisim” miracles.  It is a month of open miracles where Hashem turned the natural world on its head to rescue His beloved nation.  The Torah tells us this special time was planned from the creation of the world and will always be a time of miracles and redemption for Am Yisroel for all generations. “Leil Shimurim Hu L’ashem… Shimurim L’Chol Bnei Yisroel L’Dorosum”

The word Nes is made of the letters “Nun” and “Samech”.  The gemara tells us (Brachos 4b) that although in “Ashrei” each pasuk starts with the next consecutive letter of the Aleph Bais, the pasuk beginning with Nun is omitted.  This is because a pasuk with “Nun” speaks of the downfall of Klal Yisroel.  “Nafla Lo Sosif Kum Besulas Yisroel”.  Even though Dovid left out the Nun he still supported it with Ruach HaKodesh, as the pasuk after the missing Nun that starts with the letter Samech says “Someich Hashem L’Chol HaNoflim”; Hashem supports all those who have fallen.

This, says the Bnei Yisaschar, is the significance of the word and month “Nisan”.  It is the month that Hashem lifts up his downtrodden nation, both in the time Galus Mitzrayim and also in the day of Moshiach Sheyavo Bimheira Biyameinu.

Sun, 06 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000