HaRav Shimson Pincus zt"l was killed, along
with his wife and daughter, in a tragic car accident
one year ago on the 13th of Nisan. In addition to being
the rov of the kehilla of Ofakim, Israel, HaRav
Pincus lectured and participated in seminars throughout
the world. The following article is taken from a taped
lecture "Leil HaSeder" that he delivered in the U.S.
before Pesach two years ago.
The Leil haSeder is a very special night. There
is a saying by tzaddikim that the Leil haSeder
gives you a seder for the entire year. If we
experience the Leil haSeder properly, it's a
wonderful experience and it can make a revolution
within us and in our attachment to Hashem.
What is the main issue of Pesach?
The main issue of everything is Hashem and His world.
HaKodosh Boruch Hu created a world and the main
part of the world is the humanity in the world. On Rosh
Hashonoh we say, "Zeh hayom techillas ma'asechoh --
zikoron leyom rishon" (This is the first day of
creation). Really Rosh Hashonoh -- the first of Tishrei
-- was the sixth day of Creation; Heaven and Earth were
created on the 25th of Elul. However, Rosh Hashonoh was
the creation of man, and man is really the center of
everything. If you have a world without humanity, it's
really not a world, it's nothing -- it's like
decorating a wedding hall without any chosson and
kallah. Thus we say about the day that man was
created that it is the first day of Creation.
The creation of the Odom in the basic physical way was
on Rosh Hashonoh, but the creation of Odom in the
spiritual way was Pesach: "HaChodesh hazeh lochem
rosh chodoshim--rishon hu lochem lechodshei hashonoh."
(Shemos 12:2) The real Odom is Am Yisroel and
the birth of this Odom was on Pesach.
Until then, the Jewish people were in Mitzrayim and it
wasn't just an exile of a people within a people, like
the later exiles in Bovel, Rome, or today. As the
posuk says: "Goy bekerev goy" (Devorim
4:34). "Kerev" is like krovayim -- in other
words the Jewish people were like in a pregnancy within
Mitzrayim. In a pregnancy "uber yerech imo," the
fetus is like one of the limbs of the mother. The
Jewish people were not a separate people in Mitzrayim.
Even though the Jewish people were noticeable because
they did not change their names, clothing, and
language, they were not a real people yet.
The birth of the Jewish people was on Pesach. And
that's why Leil haSeder and Pesach as a whole is
a very delicate time and an extremely exciting time.
Just like in a hospital you have a lot of machinery, on
the Leil Haseder we have matzos, carpas,
moror, arba cosos and charoses because this is
the night of the birth.
"Leil shimurim" (Shemos 12:42) means that Hashem
was waiting for this night, because this was the night
that Hashem finally had the object of Creation. And the
same thing happens every single Leil Pesach, as the
posuk continues: "Shimurim lekol bnei Yisroel
ledorosom" -- for all generations this is the night
that the Jewish people as a whole and everyone of us in
particular becomes reborn, when we can become new
people and make major changes.
When an Odom is born in the physical sense, Hashem does
everything. But this night we are partners with what is
happening, so we need to understand what is happening,
and what we are trying to build.
Let's start with the structure of the Odom. The
gemora learns (Niddah 31a): "Sheloshoh
shutfin yesh be'Odom: HaKodosh Boruch Hu, ve'oviv,
ve'imo." There are three main partners in the Odom:
the father gives the child the "white" parts, which are
the skeleton and the skin, the mother gives the "red"
parts, the blood, the hair, and the black of the eyes,
and HaKodosh Boruch Hu gives the neshomoh.
Corresponding to these three elements the Leil
haSeder has three major mitzvos: matzoh, arba
cosos and sippur yetzias Mitzrayim. Matzoh is
from flour and flour is white, so this is the portion
of the father. Wine by nature is red
(lechatchilah we use red wine) and that is the
part of the mother. The spiritual part is Hashem's
part, which is the sippur yetzias Mitzrayim.
The skeleton which is the structure of the man. Without
bones there is just a lump of meat. The height and the
structure of the body is its bones and skin. Chazal say
that a baby cannot know its abba or ima
until it eats a kezayis of grain. The
gemora says this is referring to the Eitz
Hada'as which was wheat. Just like a child
recognizes his father and mother from his bread, our
recognition of Hashem comes from eating matzoh,
which is called "nahamo demehemnusa" -- bread
of emunah. We are baalei emunah because
this quality is renewed every year on the Leil
haSeder when we eat matzoh.
Basic emunah is the fundamental structure of the
person. A person without emunah is also like a
lump of meat. He has no connection to what can truly be
So matzoh represents the father's contribution,
the structure -- which is emunah. And when we eat
matzoh on Leil haSeder it makes an
explosion of emunah into us.
Blood is a symbol of burning, exciting life. That is
the idea of the arba cosos: a shiroh to
Hashem. When we do the mitzvos of the night it should
be with hislahavus, with a flame. The Odom we are
creating should be a living entity and the real concept
of living means bubbling with excitement about Hashem.
Then there is Hashem's part. Even with basic emunah
and even with excitement about the emunah --
it's much more. "Ve'afilu kulonu chachomim, kulonu
nevonim, kulonu zekeinim, kulonu yod'im es haTorah,
mitzvoh oleinu lesapeir beyetzi'as Mitzrayim" -- to
go deeper into it and to understand it better and to
get more understanding and excitement. That is Hashem's
part, which is the neshomoh that we add to this
Let us try to understand the matzohs a little
deeper. When we talk about Odom, about humanity, what
exactly do we mean? In science they call Odom an
intelligent animal. We don't believe that. An Odom is a
completely different creation. We live in a world where
there is a Shomayim and Oretz; Elokim is in
the Shomayim and we are in the Oretz.
(Hashem is all over, but Hashem is expressed as
being in the Shomayim way above us and detached
from us.) The true definition of Odom is a creature
with the talent and capacity to connect Shomayim
and Oretz, which means to connect with Hashem.
The posuk says: "Vayehi ho'Odom lenefesh
chayoh" (Bereishis 2:7), which the Targum interprets
as: "Leruach memalelo," a spirit that was able to
speak. Dibur is an expression of chibur, of
connection, and memalelo means to be able to talk
to Hashem, to connect to Hashem. When a person is
connecting to Hashem, then he is performing as an Odom.
When he's not connecting to Hashem he is like any other
beheimoh, even if he is a great mathematician. He
is not a ruach memalelo, a speaker with Hashem.
When are you connected with Hashem? When you talk to
Hashem and you know that Hashem is listening and Hashem
knows that you know that He is listening. This
connection comes from the sechel because the act
of talking doesn't mean anything if you don't know to
whom you are talking. You might just be talking to the
wall. Odom is a being who possesses a sechel that
is able to generate a connection to Hashem. The basis
of this connection is called emunah, which means
trusting Hashem and being connected to Hashem.
This is matzoh: "Lema'an tizkor es yom tzeischo
mei'eretz mitzrayim kol yemei chayecho," (Devorim
16:3). The reason that we ate matzoh in Mitzrayim
was because Mitzrayim really was a seminar to teach us
emunah -- lema'an teida ki ani Hashem bekerev
ho'oretz (Shemos 8:18). Mitzrayim was a place with a
tremendous amount of gilui Shechinoh.
This also explains why the matzoh is d'oraysa,
while the arba cosos are a derabbonan. The
basic emunah is the basic structure of the Odom
itself, and d'oraysa is commanded by Hashem
Himself. The arba cosos which are the excitement
cannot be a d'oraysa, since excitement has to
come from within us and to be generated from inside.
Hence they are derabbonan, meaning something that
the Jewish people generated, something we are excited
We eat the matzohs -- motzi, matzoh, korech and
afikomen -- and then we are done, but the arba
cosos span the Seder from beginning to end.
Why? Because matzoh is the structure, and once
the structure is there, it's standing. The arba
cosos are the excitement and there is not just one
specific point in the Leil haSeder or in one's
life where he has to get excited. Throughout his life
he is supposed to be excited about Hashem, and that's
why every part of the seder has to be with a
cos -- kiddush with excitement, the
Haggadah with excitement, bircas hamozone
with excitement, Hallel with excitement -- the
whole Seder with excitement from beginning to the
Unfortunately, there is a common mistake to think that
becoming excited is just for tzaddikim but not
for us because we have no real connection to the
Leil haSeder because, we think, we are very small
and very detached. Never is this mistake so wrong as on
Leil haSeder (though it can damage our
performance of many other mitzvos).
The truth is that the Leil haSeder is really
above all of us, and even above great tzadikkim.
Why? Before yetzias Mitzrayim, the Jewish people
were sunk in the 49 Shaarei Tumah (the tumah
was not immorality, because in this the Jewish
people then were 100 percent pure; rather the issue
then was avodah zora and the appreciation of the
Oneness of Hashem) and they were not ready for the
light that Hashem opened up to them on the Leil
haSeder. However, because of the danger that they
might become so attached to Mitzrayim that they would
not be able to get out, HaKodosh Boruch Hu took
them out bechipozone, and opened up their hearts
and minds to an appreciation and to a closeness that
was way above their capacities.
And this is what happens to us every year. The night of
the seder and the first day of Pesach has this
same element of bechipozone, which enables us to
understand and appreciate concepts that are way above
our heads. After the first day of Pesach we stop saying
(full) Hallel, because things start to take on a
more normal tone and the beauty and greatness that we
received as a present from Hashem fade away. But it all
leaves an impression.
After Pesach we rebuild the Odom, but now step-by-step
until Shavuous, when we declare: "Atoh hor'eiso
loda'as ki Hashem hu ho'Elokim, ein od milevado" --
which is the epitome of the real Odom.
What Hashem does for us on Pesach is to open up in a
completely unnatural, miraculous way, the beauties of
Matan Torah, even though it's way ahead of us and
we haven't gone yet through the Sefiras HaOmer.
That is what happened during the first Pesach and
that is what happens every year -- and everyone can
take advantage of this special seyata deShmaya of