The most powerful day of Sefiras HaOmer is Shevii Shel
Pesach which is a real yom tov. Shevii Shel
Pesach was the day of Krias Yam Suf, the
splitting of the sea.
Chazal compare Yetzias Mitzrayim to a birth, with
similar stages. The initial exodus is described as
"nin'ar havlad lotzeis," the baby is aroused to
emerge. Sometimes however, there is a crisis called,
"Ki bo'u bonim ad mashber veko'ach ayin leleidoh"
(Yeshayoh 37:3) -- the birth cannot proceed,
creating a life-threatening situation.
The birth began when Am Yisroel started leaving
Mitzrayim, but as long as the Egyptians were alive and
they related to them as their masters, they were not
completely detached and the birth was not complete.
As they were going out, the Jews reached a terrible
crisis. The sea was in front of them, the Mitzrim were
bearing down behind them, and then came the decisive
prosecution in Heaven: "Hallolu ovdei avoda zora
vehallolu ovdei avoda zora" -- the Jews worshiped
idols just as their oppressors. The birth could not
proceed, posing a threat of disaster. Krias Yam Suf was
the final, successful birth and that was truly the
moment of redemption.
Preceding the arrival of Moshiach, we will experience
the same procedure. We don't know when Moshiach will
come, but we know that we are in the process. Never was
a generation so painfully lacking spiritually -- which
is a reflection of the birth pangs. We are in the
situation of, "Ki bo'u bonim ad mashber veko'ach
ayin leleidoh." We are waiting for the resolution of
What happened at Krias Yam Suf, and how will this
repeat itself in our generation? We must analyze and
learn what actually split the Sea because that will
bring us the final redemption as well.
In order to appreciate the magnificence and the meaning
of Krias Yam Suf, it is important to understand the
concept of the Shisin, which were the source of
the unparalleled joy at the Simchas Beis Hashoeva
on Succos. The Shisin were two holes in the
Mizbeiach that penetrated to the depths of the
Tehome. They were so vital that Hashem created
them in the beginning, during the Six Days of Creation.
The word "Bereishis" alludes to this Creation,
being comprised of the words, "Boro Shisin."
The expression of greatest happiness by the Jewish
people was the fanfare on Simchas Beis Hashoeva
that climaxed with pouring water into the Shisin.
Water symbolizes life, because nothing can live without
water. In the beginning, the entire world was filled
with water, with Hashem's endless benevolence of
abundance and life. Hashem, however, later limited this
water and created partitions to contain this obvious
revelation of Hashem's true and endless lovingkindness.
The heavens are the partition of the waters above, and
the earth is the partition of the waters below.
Man, who lives on the earth, has no access to the full
revelation of the boundless chesed. Even rain,
which is Hashem's means of infusing life into this
world, does not create an open passage for us to
perceive the endless truth of Hashem's Goodness.
When Hashem created the world, which hides His obvious
Glory, Hashem opened a window called "Shisin" so
that there would remain a possibility to connect once a
year with the infinite chesed of Hashem. On
Succos, Am Yisroel gathered water and spilled it onto
the Mizbeiach and the water then connected to the
Tehome via the Shisin. This connection
brought such happiness and sweetness that they were
able to "gather" Ruach Hakodesh and they danced
out of ecstasy and love of Hashem because of the
connection they found to that boundless kindness.
In contrast, on the awesome day of Shevii Shel Pesach
Hashem split the sea and opened a huge rift to the deep
Tehome. It was not like on Succos where there is
an opening of just two little holes. Rather He split
open a broad connection to the Tehome, and the
endless, deep, infinite chesed of Hashem was
revealed in all its glory.
In Tehillim this journey is described as,
"Vayolicheim baTehomos kemidbar" (106:9), Hashem
led Yisroel in the depths of the sea as if it were a
dry desert. Am Yisroel entered into this Tehome
and every single Jew, even the simple maidservants,
reached great heights of prophecy.
On Succos, the greatness of the Jewish people opens up
the Tehome. After Rosh Hashonoh, Aseres Yemei
Teshuvoh and Yom Kippur -- which are days of
introspection and purification -- we achieve a
closeness to Hashem and spend days of deveikus on
Succos. This embrace with Hashem Yisborach breaks
open to the Tehome then and we connect to the
endless beauty of Hashem.
What breaks open the Tehome on Pesach? The crisis
of the tzoroh. Here it is not greatness but
suffering that breaks open the Tehome, and only
through crisis and suffering can we appreciate the
extent of the true love of our Father.
For example, every father loves his child and
occasionally he splurges on a big gift, maybe a new
bicycle or watch. But when do you know how much he
really loves his child? When all of a sudden the child
suffers an attack of appendicitis and the father goes
all-out to find the top surgeon and lays out ten
thousand dollars for the special treatment. The child
might wonder, "I didn't know Tatty loved me so much!"
Times of tzoros open feelings that one never knew
existed. Therefore, what opened just two little windows
on Succos, opens a whole wide Tehome of infinite
kindness of Hashem through the tremendous time of
Shevii Shel Pesach is the yom tov of tzoros,
of Jewish pain. We don't say (full) Hallel,
and we don't make a blessing of Shehecheyonu,
because it is the day that commemorates our greatest
danger and we don't look forward to such situations.
But it is a yom tov that teaches us what happens
to a Jewish child when he's in a tzoroh, and what
endless beauty of Hashem is revealed in a moment of
There is the well-known example of the dedicated Jew
who refused to eat the treif meat allocated to
the Jews in the Nazi camps. One day a Nazi grabbed the
Jew and told him, "If you refuse to eat the meat, I'll
The man staunchly refused. The Nazi began to beat him
mercilessly until there was a puddle of blood around
him and he gave him up for dead. The man however, was
alive, and his companions came to assist him. To their
surprise, they saw that the Nazi beat the wrong man.
This man was an avowed atheist who ate pork all his
They asked him in surprise why he so stubbornly refused
to eat the treif meat -- even risking his life --
if he had eaten it all his life. He answered that when
he got beaten for it he suddenly understood and it
became clear to him that it was wrong to eat treif,
and he bravely refused.
Perhaps the most precious matzos in history were
baked in the concentration camps with devotion and
dedication evoked by the harsh conditions. The
greatness that people achieve in times of crisis is
unparalleled in other situations. Simple Jews became
kedoshim and reached unbelievable heights.
This is what happened at Krias Yam Suf when the wide
Tehome was revealed in an obvious revelation of
closeness between Hashem and His people, just as a
father's heart breaks open when his children are in
pain and then his true love becomes apparent.
Now we are in the process of Ikveso deMeshicha.
We live in a spiritual holocaust where one can cut the
tumah with a knife. When Jewish blood is
spiritually being spilled, a Tehome opens up and
we witness many baalei teshuva miraculously
This is the message of Shevii Shel Pesach: the
greatness of Hashem that we can see when we are in a
situation of pain, and the closeness we experience in a
time of tzoroh.
When Am Yisroel approached the Yam Suf and heard the
Egyptians bearing down behind them, they automatically
screamed to Hashem in prayer: "Vayitz'aku Bnei
Yisroel el Hashem" (Shemos 14:10). However, Hashem
responded, "Ma titz'ak eilai?" Now is not a time
for tefilloh. But what else could they do? They
were stuck, so they screamed to Hashem.
The Zohar explains that Hashem's natural
attachment to this world is through tefilloh.
Tefilloh has the same root as the word "naftulei
Elokim," which means attachment.
When Odom Horishon was created, he came into a barren
world. All vegetation remained under the surface of the
ground because there was as yet no man to pray for its
growth. Only through his prayers did the world
At Yam Suf, there was a terrible crisis caused by the
prosecution against the Jews because they too worshiped
idols, and the birth could not proceed. Hashem told
Moshe: It won't help to scream, because the natural
channels are not powerful enough to realize the
Redemption. A deeper and greater chesed is
necessary to merit the supernatural miracle that is
Therefore, Hashem said, "Veyiso'u" (Shemos
14:15). Let them proceed straight into the water,
because mesiras nefesh is unnatural, and only
that can lead to a supernatural redemption. Nachshon
jumped in and cried, "Hoshi'oh Hashem ki bo'u mayim
ad nofesh" (Save me, Hashem, because the water will
drown me), and at that moment the Tehome of
Hashem's infinite sweetness and kindness split open --
and that was the birth when all the Mitzrim were
finally destroyed and the Jews merited cheirus olom,
What does this teach us?
That the final birth is so hard because there is such a
kitrug. Why should we be redeemed? We could be in
the process, but at the last minute there will be a
kitrug. We have no Chofetz Chaim, no great
tzadikim, and we will be stuck. But the Geulah
will come through mesiras nefesh. That is the
supernatural means to merit a miraculous redemption.
One way is to jump into the water, but that's the easy
way. There was once a chossid who came to a
rebbe and pleaded that he wanted to do teshuva
for all the unforgivable misdeeds he had committed.
The rebbe gravely told him that he had to kill
himself. The man concluded that, as a one-time effort
it was worthwhile, to atone for all his sins. He
started heading for the staircase. The rebbe
asked him, "Where are you going?"
He answered that he was about to jump off the roof.
The Rebbe sharply reprimanded him, "What? You'll kill
another Jew? I didn't mean you should die. I meant to
kill your evil habits and change your lifestyle."
The chossid was crestfallen, "That's much
Answered the rebbe, "I didn't say it was going to
Nefesh refers to our wants and natural enjoyments
in life. It is our pattern of life. Mesiras nefesh
means dedicating our lifestyle so that it is one
that manifests our devotion and love for Hashem. Our
loyalty to Hashem should be obvious in our pure Jewish
homes, free from goyish entertainment like videos
Today our greatest yetzer hora is "fun," because
it has become the center of our lives. Life and
enjoyment should be connection to Hashem. The deepest
connection to Hashem is when we find fun and enjoyment
in Torah and mitzvos.
When we find excitement in our Shabbos and yomim
tovim, appreciate their exclusive beauty and happily
reject the interests of the world at large, then this
mesiras nefesh will bring Moshiach.
When learning Torah and tefilloh become the
highlights of our day, then this is the catalyst that
will split the sea and bring the final Geulah.
"Veyiso'u" is only possible through mesiras
nefesh. In our days of spiritual poverty, there are
endless opportunities to demonstrate our mesiras
nefesh by going against the tide of pursuit of the
purely physical and instead finding excitement in Torah
The deep, endless lovingkindness of Hashem that we had
just a peek into on Sukkos, is revealed in all its
glory on Shevii Shel Pesach, when we came to the depths
of despair but took a plunge which finally led to our
We, once again, are standing on that threshold,
engulfed by dangers and tzoros on all fronts.
Pesach is the opportunity to take that plunge by
purifying our homes to be a reflection of our exclusive
relationship with Hashem, to merit the final Geulah
This article is based on a lecture given by HaRav
Shimshon Pincus and is dedicated in his memory, and in
the memory his wife and daughter, whose first
yahrtzeit is the thirteenth of Nisan. Each one
was exemplary of true, untiring dedication, and love of
Hashem and His people. The demise of a tzaddik is
parallel to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh
because, just as the Beis Hamikdosh strengthened
our emunah by being a physical reflection of
Hashem's glory and existence, so too, tzadikim
bring us closer to Hashem. However, when we distance
ourselves from that reality, we become undeserving of
the privilege of having them in our midst. Therefore,
their sudden violent death demands introspection and
improvement to justify their self-sacrifice on our
part. Keeping a super-human schedule, HaRav Pincus and
his wife infused our generation with the message,
"Hashem is real!" Making Hashem a reality in our lives,
whether it's strengthening our tznius or
purifying our homes from all that is contrary to
avodas Hashem is, Rav Pincus taught, what will
bring us the Geulah.