profile | register | search
|Forums | |||Post Reply||Send Topic To a Friend|
|MODERATOR||Posted - 05 April 2007 1:48
Please psot anything you wish to share for this yom tov. I will post a few soon.
|wannabe||Posted - 05 April 2007 18:55
"Mitchilah Ovdei Avodah Zarah Hayu Avoseinu."
In the Haggadah, this is the beginning of the actual story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. So...why is the Haggadah maschil b'ginus? Why start off on a negative note?
There are two kinds of love: ahavah she'teluyah b'davar, and ahavah she'aino teluyah b'davar. Conditional love, and unconditional love. Conditional love is based on something physical, and if that's gone, the love is gone, too. Unconditional love is not based in anything physical, so it can never be destroyed.
If we had been redeemed when we were at the height of spirituality, and then looked back at the geulah in later generations, we could have said, "Well, it was only because we were WORTHY of being redeemed that we were redeemed. Now we're not worthy. Now, Hashem might not love us enough to redeem us."
But no. The geulah from Mitzrayim happened when we were at the ultimate low - on the 49th level of tumah.
Hashem didn't take us out because we deserved it.
He took us out because He loves us even when we DON'T deserve it. He took us out because He never gives up on us.
Hashem took us out because He loves us even when there's no reason to - eternally, and unconditionally.
|israel-phile gal||Posted - 06 April 2007 15:00
The Mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim
this is a BEAUTIFUL dvar Torah that was emailed by my mechanech in michlalah- rav rudman (he wrote the peirush on the sfas emes)
it really gave me a whole new depth 2 yetziat mitzrayim- i read it 2 my fam at the beginning of the seder- and i think it gave more meaning 2 the seder 4 all of us. (suggestion- copy and paste this in2 word- its easier 2 read.)
The Mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim- Telling the Events of the Exodus- is the major component of the Seder. However, the parameters of this Mitzvah require clarification. Since Chazal chose to describe the method of fulfilling this Mitzvah as a Seder, we need to define that concept.
|wannabe||Posted - 08 April 2007 18:50
Lost Amid the Pyramids_
by Sara Yoheved Rigler
Passover is about redeeming our core identity.
Ancient Egypt was the Big Apple of its time. In terms of technology, art, architecture, literature, wealth, and highly organized bureaucracy, Egypt was a consummate civilization. It had been so for many centuries when a small group of 70 Semitic herdsmen arrived there 3,528 years ago.
No wonder that the second and third generations of that Semitic family, the grandchildren of Jacob, were enthralled by Egyptian society. Its grandeur, its power, and its cosmopolitan air were enough to dazzle any immigrant child.
Imagine an Israelite youth peering at the imposing line of towering pyramids that started at the Nile Delta and extended for 1500 miles southward. The largest of them, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, stood 481 feet high; its base covered an area of 13 acres. The monumental structure contained 2.3 million blocks of limestone, each averaging 2½ tons. Gazing at this centuries-old pyramid, our immigrant youth would not have known -- and perhaps not have cared -- that its construction took 100,000 laborers 20 years of toil. Who would not want to be part of a society that produced such wonders?
It is a syndrome that we Jews have experienced in many civilizations throughout many epochs of exile: The host society is so culturally advanced, so powerful, so urbane, that we become infatuated with it. Although we associate the Israelite experience in Egypt with slavery and oppression, out of the 210 years that our ancestors lived in Egypt, they enjoyed freedom, prosperity, and acceptance for 130 years --about as long as Jews have flourished in America. The story reeks of familiarity: the Egyptian-born generations of Israelites gravitated to the majority culture, hobnobbed with its elite, and eventually worshipped its gods.
Yet, like the next three millennia of their descendents, these proto-Jews were caught in an identity crisis. As much as they longed to become part of the suave and successful society that surrounded them, they also felt a fealty to their progenitors, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, as well as to the unique worldview that they had espoused. Thus, the Talmud tells us, the Israelites in Egypt retained their distinctive Hebrew names, language, and dress. Their hearts longed to assimilate, but their souls clung to the outer vestiges of their ancestral identity.
For over a century, the Israelites in Egypt, as free and prosperous residents, were poised tenuously between two opposing worldviews. These worldviews sprung from two divergent concepts of human identity.
Ancient Egypt was a society where animals, humans, and gods shared a fluid identity, with no definite distinctions between them. Many Egyptian gods bore the heads of animals, while sphinxes had the bodies of lions and human heads. Animals were venerated; bulls, cats, and crocodiles lived luxuriously in certain temples, and when they died they were mummified. Egyptian peasants lived in the same hovels as their beasts. Pharaoh was a god in human form, simultaneously Horus, the falcon god, and the son of Re, the sun god.
How different from the worldview of the patriarch Abraham! Abraham had believed in a Divine soul that distinguished humans from animals. Abraham taught that God was a single, transcendent, non-corporeal Being Who had created human beings "in God's image," which meant that humans similarly had a transcendent, non-corporeal essence -- their Divine soul. Animals, while not to be mistreated, were essentially different than human beings because they lacked this higher order of soul. While bestiality was commonly practiced in the ancient Near East, the Torah of the Jews would categorically forbid it.
This is no minor distinction. Identity determines what we will expect of ourselves, to what we will devote our energies, and in what direction we will seek fulfillment.
Animals are ruled exclusively by instinct. An animal can be trained to alter its behavior through positive and negative reinforcement. A bear can learn to dance if you give it enough treats or whip it hard enough, but its attraction to the treats and aversion to the whip are merely an extension of its instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
In the Jewish worldview, human beings, because they are endowed with Divine souls, can override instinct with moral choices. In fact, this is the definitive characteristic of human beings: They can choose between right and wrong -- even when the right alternative is painful and the wrong alternative beckons with pleasure.
People who define themselves as animals relinquish the possibility of transcendence and its accompanying joys: selfless love, altruistic giving, moral heroism, and spiritual growth.
Ancient Egypt, in fact, for all its cultic religiosity, had no concept of a transcendent soul separate from the body. Their elaborate tombs were well-equipped with food and clothing for the use of the deceased in the after-life. Some tombs of Second Dynasty noblemen were even equipped with bathrooms. The lengthy, secret process of mummification was necessary because, devoid of a transcendent soul, if the body decayed, it would be as if the person had never existed. Just like an animal.
The Jewish concept of human beings as essentially different from animals also meant that human sexuality was holy and exclusively in the context of marriage. Contrast this to ancient Egyptian promiscuity, where incest was accepted, fertility cults abounded, and temple prostitutes were a fixture of society. Erotic pictures adorn Egyptian tombs, a practice intended to revive the male tomb occupant in his next life. The special disdain the Sages would later reserve for Egyptian society was no doubt the result of this licentiousness.
THE GREAT TURNING POINT
While the God of Abraham had -- and demanded -- a definite standard of right and wrong, Egyptian society was essentially amoral. It had no codified or written laws at all. Pharaoh's arbitrary judgments were the law of the land. Egyptian courts were merely the vicarious arm of Pharaoh's whims.
Morality was a novel concept introduced into antiquity by the Jews. While, unlike Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia produced many legal codes, these were utilitarian rather than ethical. Their aim was to protect property rights and preserve the efficacious functioning of society. According to such codes, murder was forbidden because a murderous society degenerates into chaos. According to the Torah, murder is forbidden because human beings are created in the image of God and therefore human life has inherent value.
"The discovery of monotheism," writes historian Paul Johnson, "and not just of monotheism but of a sole, omnipotent God actuated by ethical principles and seeking methodically to impose them on human beings, is one of the great turning-points in history, perhaps the greatest of all." [A History of the Jews, p. 30]
CHAMPIONS OF CIVIC DUTY
The Israelite wavering between their two warring identities ended dramatically 130 years into their Egyptian experience. The reigning Pharaoh decided that the Israelites were becoming too numerous and posed the danger of a fifth column during wartime and gradually impounded them into slavery.
The Midrash relates that at first, Pharaoh played on their identity as loyal Egyptians by summoning them as volunteers in a national construction enterprise. All the Israelites except the tribe of Levi rallied enthusiastically to their civic duty. Gradually the volunteerism turned into conscription, and finally slavery.
The slavery exposed the dark side of Egyptian civilization. The grand monuments that the Israelites themselves had admired were built by human exploitation and torture. Pharaoh, worried by his astrologers' predictions of an Israelite redeemer, had male babies murdered and thrown into the waiting jaws of Nile crocodiles. Unconstrained by any ethical imperative, the taskmasters were cruel and sadistic.
Yet the Israelite infatuation for their adopted society was so tenacious that even at the height of the process of redemption, during the ninth of the Ten Plagues, some 80% of the Israelites declined to leave Egypt. Being a slave in the world's greatest civilization was to them preferable to the uncertain journey back to their archaic ancestral homeland. Even in the desert after their liberation, many of the former slaves pined for the amenities of Egypt. As the quip goes, God could take the Jews out of Egypt, but He couldn't take Egypt out of the Jews.
THE EXILE OF IDENTITY
Jewish history is a recurring process of exile and redemption. Exile is not only expulsion from our land; it is also an exile from our identity as Jews. When two identities conflict, only one will ultimately prevail.
Two millennia ago, there were as many Jews in the world as Chinese. Today, the Chinese number one billion and Jews number less than 14 million. This is due not only to repeated persecution and massacre, but also to the opting out of Jews in favor of the majority culture. Every Jew reading this essay is the descendant of Jews who repeatedly chose to identify as Jews rather than as Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Christians, Muslims, or secularists.
One of the mitzvot of the Torah incumbent upon every Jew is to remember daily "the going out from Egypt." On the simplest level this means remembering the historic event of the Exodus, the dramatic evidence that God intervenes in history for our collective and personal redemption. On a metaphorical level, however, "the going out from Egypt" refers to our emerging from our "Egyptian" self-definition as an instinct-driven animal to our Jewish self-definition as a Divine soul capable of making moral choices and achieving transcendence.
The brilliant light of redemption, which first flashed into the world at the Exodus, is available every year at Passover time. It is a gift from Above. All we have to do is want it. All we have to do is clarify who we really are.
Bibliography: A History of the Jews by P. Johnson; Wanderings by C. Potok; Tour Egypt website.
|torahtemima||Posted - 14 April 2008 21:44
israelphilegal=- you mean the peninei sfat emet?
|NDANESH100||Posted - 14 April 2008 21:44
Holidays and Time
To begin to understand the deeper mechanisms of the holiday of Pesach we first need to try to understand what the concept of time represents in Judaism. The common misconception is that in Judaism just like any other religion or culture, we commemorate past events. For example we celebrate Pesach to remember what happened when we left Egypt. However, while remembering how we became free is a part of the Pesach holiday, it is not primary. In Judaism, the timeline is circular. What does this mean? It means that every year at different times of the year we go through the same things. Imagine all the months of the Jewish calendar in a circle now imagine going around the circle every year over and over again. Every year we experience the special energies that are associated with that month or time of year. For example the ninth of Av is a time where Din (judgment) is very severe therefore, it is no wonder that both the first and second Beit Hamikdash were destroyed on that day (not to be outdone by the beginning of WWI which took place on that day and led to WWII which also brought about unspeakable destruction to world Jewry and the world at large).
Every month and time of year has a special energy to it. It is for this reason that we are given Mitsvot that are time-related (only to be done at certain times of year; ie. Fast, eat matzah, lulav, etrog etc.). The Mitsvot help us ride the wave and go with the energy of that month. There are times to be cautious (three weeks from 17 Tamuz to 9th of Av), times to be happy (Purim, Adar) and times to reflect and do Teshuva (Elul). Therefore, when we celebrate a holiday we are not just commemorating a past event, in fact in a way we are reliving it and going through its special energy once again. Incidently the reason why women are exempt from time related mitzvoth is tht they naturally perceive these energies and can naturally ride the energies. This is represented by their physical bodies which are also based on a monthly cycle. (It should be noted that scientists have no explanation as to why the womans body is based on a monthly cycle; all animals are either based on seasons or climates.)
Following that reasoning, it is proper to ask what is the special energy of the month of Nissan and the holiday of Pesach? The Gemara in Rosh Hashana says "In Nissan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt and in Nissan we will be redeemed" (Tractate Rosh HaShana 11a). The special energy of the month of Nissan is being redeemed and coming together as a nation. In our times this would translate into coming out of galut. Now the entire holiday is much more meaningful. It is not just a commemoration of what happened over three thousand years ago, rather it is as relevant today as it has ever been; just like any other holiday that we celebrate.
Pesach takes place on the night of the fifteenth. Why is that? Kabbalistically G-d is 'represented' by the sun which gives off endless light. We represent the moon which only reflects the light of the sun. On the night of the fifteenth the moon is full and thus reflects more of the suns light than ever. This is the deep reason why when we say Kiddush levana (the blessing of the moon) we say that “let the day come when the moon is as big as the sun” meaning when we will be able to use all that G-d gives us for the right reason and hence reflect it back to the world.
Purim and Pesach
The holiday of Pesach follows that of Purim. Therefore, it is appropriate to compare the two holidays. On Purim, all the miracles that took place were hidden miracles. As mentioned before in the Purim article the name of G-d is not even mentioned in the Megillah. Furthermore, Purim takes place in the winter where darkness prevails and the beauty of the world is hidden. Howver, Pesach takes place in the Spring ( It is a commandment from the Torah that it be celebrated on spring). Spring, it is a time of growth. A time where the trees blossom and the birds sing it’s a time where things are revealed and similarly G-d is revealed. In sharp contrast to Purim where all the miracles are hidden, the miracles of Pesach are not only revealed but they are as extravagant as they can get. Hashem’s name is all over the Haggadah and his miracles are stated openly and clearly. Whereas in the Megillah the names of the characters fill the pages and the names of Hashem are not mentioned, in the Haggadah it is the opposite. The names of Hashem fill the pages and the names of the characters are barely seen. In fact Moshe’s name is not once mentioned in the Haggadah! In summary, Pesach reveals that which was hidden on Purim.
Chametz and Matzah
Why eat Marror?
|torahtemima||Posted - 16 April 2008 15:31
ndanesh- where's that from?
and jsust so my question to IPG doesn't get lost, i'd like to knwo if that's from the person who wrote the peninei sfas emes?
|satinsword13||Posted - 16 April 2008 15:31
Wannabe- i just read your first poat, wow. wow. thats beautiful. thank you- whered you get that?
|wannabe||Posted - 17 April 2008 15:53
satin- sorry but i dont know the original source ;( ...heard it a while ago from someone
|Torah=MayimChayim||Posted - 22 April 2008 23:17
I recently read an editorial in the American Yated Ne’eman where the editor, Rabbi Pinchos Lipshutz, spoke of the fact that some chagim (holidays) sometimes tend to “creep up” on us, so to speak. “Before you realize that they are around the corner, they’ve arrived,” he said. Not so with Pesach. We learn of an oft-quoted Chazal which instructs us to begin learning of the upcoming chag thirty days before its arrival, which is particularly relevant to the chag of Pesach. In many homes, the remnants of Purim are cut short as children are requested to “share your nosh with your friends in school, okay? We need to get rid of the chometz before Pesach.” The smell of ammonia becomes pungent in the air, as our floors shine a bright white we have not seen since the house was bought twenty years ago.
Why do we do all of this? To make sure that chometz is removed from our homes.
A question that bothered me in particular this year was as follows. If we are allowed to eat chometz the rest of the year, what makes Pesach different? We often learn that chometz represents the yetzer hara (Evil Inclination, our “bad conscience”) and therefore must be avoided at all costs. However, should we not avoid the yetzer hara all year round? Why, then, is chometz not forbidden the whole year?
One of the famous halachot regarding Pesach tells us that even one crumb of chometz in a pot of soup will nullify the kashrus of the whole contents of the pot. This is not so during the rest of the year, when the concept of “batul b’shishim” (the concept which tells us that one type of food can be nullified when there is sixty times its amount in the opposite form) applies.
This concept can be taken a step further. A prevalent custom among a number of Jews is to avoid eating “gebrokts” (any form of liquid mixed with matzah), for fear that it will turn into chometz. For these people, breaching this rule is as severe as eating chometz itself.
Clearly, the concept of chometz and matzah carry very significant roles in Pesach.
In his essay “Chometz U’Matzah” in Sifsei Chaim, Rav Chaim Friedlander speaks of the phenomena that surround the formation of chometz and matzah. He suggests two stages of growth evident in Pesach via the issur (prohibition) of eating chometz and mitzvah of eating matzah. Chometz, as we know, is formed by letting dough rise on its own. Meanwhile, matzah is made almost “instantaneously,” above the normal confines of time. Matzah is meant to teach us that Hashem constantly acts above the normal confines of nature. The time dedicated towards the formation of matzah serves as a symbol of nature—nature here is defined as a barrier which obscures our vision of Hashem’s Divine Intervention.
The two stages that Rav Chaim offers, then, build upon the recognition of Hashem in every aspect of life. The first is the issur against eating chometz, which is meant to allow ourselves to absorb the message that nature without Hashem’s intervention is worthless. Meanwhile, the second stage, the mitzvah of eating matzah, teaches us that the breach of nature that is evident in Hashem “instantaneously” redeeming us from Mitzrayim.
The point of these two stages, Rav Chaim tells us, is to help us recognize that Hashem is not bound by nature. He quotes the Zohar, who tells us that matzah is the “refuah” (healing) for those who lack emunah. When we stop to think of the meaning of matzah, we remember that Hashem is present even in times when nature seems to reign—again, that nature only clouds our vision of Hashem’s Intervention.
The question Rav Chaim asks, then, is why we have the mitzvah of matzah only on the first night of Pesach. He answers that number of seforim tell us that Pesach was given to us in all of our own glory—that is, that we were at the highest level possible on the first night of our redemption. Afterwards, we descended in terms of our madreigos (spiritual levels.) Why? Because Pesach was a gift, a chance for us to see for ourselves how high we could reach. However, as we know, there is no such thing as a free gift. The time between Pesach and Shavous, then, is a chance for us to actually earn that gift for ourselves.
[While this is not the topic of our discussion today, it is noteworthy to point out that this concept is not limited to Pesach. Many of us know that when we were formed in our mothers’ wombs, we were taught all of Torah. Just before we emerged from those wombs, malachim tapped us and we instantaneously forgot all of the Torah we had once mastered only seconds before. Why should we learn all of that Torah and then forget it? Because this was a level of our potential. We are given the potential to learn and grow to heights unimaginable—but we must work for it.]
Rav Shimshon Pinkus offers an alternative approach to our discussion of chometz and matzah, in his Sichos on Pesach. In his “L’hiyos Lachem L’Elokim” essay, he begins by stressing that Pesach is the time of klal Yisrael’s birth. He also compares chometz to the yetzer hara—yet here, he suggests that this is also the single most potent destructive force against a newborn child. In order to protect the newborn, then, we “sterilize” his environment—in other words, remove all potential chometz from our midst. The first week of a person’s lifetime, after all, is the most crucial to his existence in the future.
Finally, Rav Pinkus answers our question which originally began this discussion: Why are we allowed to eat chometz the rest of the year?
Allow ourselves to think of an ill person for a moment. Someone who is feeling unwell will often be put onto a diet of sorts until he regains his strength, so that he will be able to fight whatever foreign agents have entered his body without outside interference. So too, klal Yisrael is placed onto a diet of sorts, during which time we regain our spiritual strength, free of potentially harmful interference. Once the sick man has recovered—when klal Yisrael has regained its strength, we are able to resume our eating of chometz with no fear of being harmed [i.e. that is, assuming we exercise that spiritual health properly].
Rav Wolbe (based on his teaching as recorded in a weekly e-mail sent out by his Bais HaMussar) helps us understand the role of chometz and matzah a bit more deeply. Just as we may spend hours upon hours searching for chometz in our homes, we must be equally careful to look for chometz within ourselves. Remember, chometz is the yetzer hara—in other words, things which obscure our connection with Hashem Yisborach.
Here we can understand another comment made by Rav Pinkus, this time in his essay “Chometz u’Seor Isurim B’Mashehu.” He asks the question: Chometz is not forbidden the rest of the year; why is it forbidden now, then?
Pesach is a time when we are chayav (obligated) to come close to Hashem. As such, we are similarly chayav to remove ourselves from things which may stand in the way of this connection—even things that are not altogether assur (forbidden), or even things which are perfectly kosher. And here, there are no limits. The story is told of the wife of a gadol who covered her cat’s legs, lest it become covered with chometz. Whereas the rest of the year someone may be considered crazy for going to the extreme, during Pesach even the most extreme chumra is admirable.
Rav Pinkus emphasizes further that whereas the rest of the year our service of Hashem may be considered one-hundred percent kosher, Pesach is where that rule does not apply. During Pesach, we must focus on the minute details that can make all the difference in our service of Hashem. What difference does one crumb of chometz make? The difference between serving Hashem and not serving Hashem, chas v’shalom. All the difference in the world.
“It is all in the details.” That’s what one of my seminary teachers, Mrs. Batya Weinberg of Michlalah, stressed when she gave a shiur emphasizing this point on the eve of Pesach. Maturity in avodas Hashem comes from recognizing that a crumb, a button on a shirt, a manner of speech—all make an incomprehensible impact.
I’d like to venture that Rav Chaim, Rav Wolbe, and Rav Pinkus are saying ideas that can perhaps be combined. Rav Chaim spoke about chometz serving as an obstacle in our recognition of Hashem, and matza serving as its antidote. Rav Wolbe spoke of our need to rid chometz from within ourselves. Rav Pinkus spoke of the need to “sterilize” ourselves, even from things that are perfectly kosher, so that we may learn of the path to closeness with Hashem.
It is well known among Orthodox Jews that contrary to popular thought, mitzvos are not restrictive. Rather, they are liberating—they liberate us from our yetzer hara, allow us to serve Hashem fully.
Pesach gives us the tools to achieve this goal. We remove chometz from within our homes and from within ourselves, to help us strip away that which threatens to cloud our recognition of this Divinely ordained purpose. Pesach becomes the focal point of the year, the point at which we are all given the opportunity to connect to the pintele Yid (the part of us which always wants to connect to Hashem) within ourselves, for the year to come. At a certain point, the question of chometz and matzah is not only based upon ingredients in a cereal, or the bottom of our closet—it is based upon our ability to take the message behind them and allow those to catapult ourselves into a higher level than we have ever achieved before.
Rav Pinkus tells us of the ben rasha, the evil son found among the four sons. He points out that even the ben rasha is placed into the haggadah—even he is given the ability to return and come close to Hashem. Indeed, we do not ignore his question, impudent and heretical as it may be—rather, we explain Pesach to him and allow him the opportunity to join as well.
In closing, let us note that both chometz and matzah are made of dough—yet how we use that dough makes all the difference.
We are all given the tremendous gift of Pesach. May we all be zoche to use it wisely, and with that be zoche to see the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’mheira b’yameinu amen!
|NDANESH100||Posted - 22 April 2008 23:17
I put it together myself but it is based on lectures from various lecturers and books. A lot of it is from the maharal and Rabbi Tatz. I recommend you listen to his lectures. They are free online and his books are really amazing.
|Matisyohu28||Posted - 24 April 2008 17:28
My mouth was hanging open when I read the zohar above that said that eating matzah is a medicine for emunah - after the sedorim were over, I felt a real charge of emunah that helped me overcome the problem I was having with the repetitive thoughts that I spoke of a few weeks ago(it had come back a for a while) - baruch hashem!
Mussar teaches you how to live. But learning bava kama is living! - Rav Avigdor Miller ZT'L
|Torah=MayimChayim||Posted - 28 April 2008 23:28
Boruch Hashem, Matisyohu! :-)
In general, Pesach is an amazing time to work on emunah. Think about it--it's all about how Hashem rules the world and everyone in it! We know that Yetzias Mitzrayim is the key to our nationhood, we say it every day in Shema. So use this time to bolster your emunah, and i'yH you will continue to grow in your emunas Hashem!
|MODERATOR||Posted - 25 March 2009 20:47
Putting this back up...
|emoticon||Posted - 03 April 2009 13:03
(I'm sorry but idk the exact source...)
The Lail HaSeder is known to be one that is filled with kedusha. It is a night that celebrates our becoming a nation, and we know that we are guests at the table of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. So... of all the names by which to call this awesome night... "Lail HaSeder"
Seder? Order? Organization?
Yupp! See, that's the key to the whole night: Kadesh... Urchatz...
Hashem is always waiting for us to return to Him. And once we take that first lil step, He helps us along. But we havta take that step.
"Pischu li pesach..." If we make an opening, He will enlarge it.
"Ha'ba letaher..." If we come to purify ourselves, He will assist us.
But the bottom line is, we have to want... and we have to start. The general rule is "sur me'ra ve'aseh tov'.
We must first cleanse ourselves and begin the Teshuva process... and then we can receive Kedusha.
But tonight is different. Before our personal 'urchatz'- before we even begin to veer away from our aveiros... before we open up that tiny crack...
Kadesh. Tonight, Hashem begins the process. He pours the Kedusha down onto us... and once He has helped us to start, we can begin with 'Urchatz'.
At the close of Megillas Eichah, Yirmiyahu pleads: "Hashieveynu Hashem ailechah ve'nashuva..."
The meforshim comment: How can Yirmiyahu make such a request? Return us to You... and *then* we will return? Teshuva means that _we_ have to take that first step. So how can Yirmiyahu ask Hashem to start?
"...chadesh yameynu k'kedem." Hashem, you did it once before. "Kedem..." long, long ago, in Mitzrayim... Hashem! I'm asking You to do as You once did for us... Help us to return to You, and then... V'nashuva!
Yup... seder is the power of the night.
Chag Kasher V'Sameach!
|rayray||Posted - 14 April 2009 16:05
See Your Way Out
By Brocha Taub
The Talmud teaches, "In every generation, one must see himself as if he went out of Egypt."
The word in Hebrew for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which can also be translated as personal limitations. Externally applied limitations, self-imposed limitations, real limitations, imagined limitations, minor limitations, debilitating limitations -- the archetype of all of these being our former existence as peoples enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt several thousand years ago.
Whether we're aware of them our not, each of us has our own set of limitations that at times cause us to make wrong choices, or at times simply prevent us from fulfilling a greater potential. Passover is the time when our actual performance of the many prescribed holiday rituals endows us with a spiritual "freedom" which in turn opens the door of opportunity in all facets of our life to rise above our personal limitations. Passover recalls freedom from Egypt. Doing the Passover rituals brings freedom from the modern day affliction of our own 'Egypt'.
Its seems, however, that before one can "...see himself as if he went out of Egypt (as if he's overcome his limitations)," as the Talmud states, he must first perceive that he is, in fact, in Egypt. If it sounds simple, think: How many of us, before recovery, considered the fact that we were powerless over our addiction, but found some way to rationalize it? How many times were we confronted with the consequences of our actions, but denied we needed help? How many of us insisted we could handle things on our own, that we could control our problem? The rock-bottom induced realization of our utterly limited nature became our first taste of sanity. Recognizing our condition -- admitting our powerlessness -- was a revolutionary adjustment of perspective that, for the first time, created a real ability to free ourselves. Our first true step into recovery became our first real step out of Egypt.
As such, it's apparent that the key to "going out of Egypt" lies in the very recognition of one's nature of being, actually, in Egypt. Translate the Talmudic injunction to read, "In every generation, one must see himself," period. And when he does, it will be "as if he went out of Egypt." In other words, it's as if the Talmud is telling us that to go out of Egypt, today, we must be willing and able to do something that might be excruciatingly painful, perhaps near impossible: Take an honest look at who and what we truly are.
In doing so, we reveal the truth about our slavery: That we are our own taskmasters. Our sense of power and control -- the whip we wield -- is not a tool to success, but in fact, makes life unmanageable. The more powerful we try to be, the more we enslave ourselves. All we need to do to leave Egypt is put down the whip. Surrender. Surrender to the reality of our essential limitations and imperfections. Surrender to the terrifying totality of our lack of control. Surrender to the bare naked truth of who and what we are. Surrender, and recognize that in wielding our whip, it is none other than our self, enslaved before us, we threaten. On Passover, the way to become free people is by perceiving and admitting our condition as slaves.
The Talmud tells us, "In every generation, a man is obligated to see himself." In that moment of rigorous honesty, when the illusion of ourselves as master gives way to our powerless existence as slave, we will be freed, today.
Click Here To Close Thread, Administrators & Moderators Only.
Show All Forums | Post Reply