Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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11 Nissan 5765 - April 20, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
At the Seder We Experience Geulah

Nisan is the month of Redemption. In Nisan they were redeemed, and in Nisan they will be redeemed (Rosh Hashonoh 11a). This is our history and this is the promise of the future.

Our Torah is a Torah of Redemption. Its goal and focus is to bring us to the state of Geulah.

Torah is not bound by place or time, but the mitzvos are very much a part of the physical world. The full range of mitzvos are applicable only when there is a full Geulah. For many mitzvos, there is no substitute when we are in golus. There is only one Mikdosh. There is only one Eretz Yisroel. For all mitzvos that are centered around these, there is no compromise with golus.

The Torah wants us to live a particular way. If we cannot live the life of purity and holiness with the Beis Hamikdash as our focus that the Torah prescribes, then the entire concepts of taharoh and kedushoh are simply not part of our lives. There is no memorial to living a life without tum'oh.

In the time of the Beis Hamikdash, the laws of tum'oh and taharoh were a constant, pervasive part of life for many of our ancestors. People who became tomei had to watch what they touched, and where they sat or lay down. People who were tohor had to guard against the many possible sources of tum'oh. Of course the purity that was thereby incorporated into their lives gave them a spiritual level that we probably cannot even imagine. But now this is completely gone from our lives. Chazal did not even prescribe something to do to remind us of this part of Torah.

There is, perhaps, one night in the year that gives us a taste of what full Geulah is: the Seder night. That is the night that Chazal say that we must see ourselves as having just left Mitzrayim, the first golus. We are out, but we are fresh from our servitude and not fully free of all its remnants.

The Seder night is the only time in the year that we have a physical reminder of the korbonos: the zero'a in memory of the Korbon Pesach, and even a reminder of the Korbon Chagigah in the roasted egg. This korbon was brought on all three chagim (hence the name "chag"), but we only have a physical reminder of it on the Seder night.

The Seder is the only time of the year that we still have a mitzvah to eat a particular thing. In Eretz Yisroel and in the Beis Hamikdosh there were many mitzvas that required eating. But today all we have is matzoh and morror on the Seder night.

That is the condition in which we have to tell our sons of the origins of Torah. It was "because of this" meaning the matzoh and morror, symbols of the transition from slavery to Redemption, and actual remnants of the redeemed state of life when even eating was a spiritually uplifting act.

That is what we have to pass on: work towards Geulah. Do not be satisfied with golus. Do not compromise on the basic elements of ruchniyus, or, if you must, struggle against it and strive for the real thing.

When the Rosho tries to dampen our enthusiasm and soil our soaring spirits with his contempt, we do not answer him. The Gaon points out that in the case of the other three sons, the Torah tells us, "Tell your son . . . " or "And you should say to him . . ." or "And you should say to your son. . . " In each case it says to address him. In the case of the Rosho, the Torah just says, "And you should say . . . " We do not address him. We do not engage him. Just as he has cut himself off from Klal Yisroel and from Hashem, we leave him alone. The Rosho is out and can stay out. We address the rest of his family, and thus use the words that were given to open up the lines of communication to the one who does not know how to ask.

This is the night that we have passed to cheirus, simchah, yom tov, ohr godol, and Geulah. May we be zocheh to eat from the pesochim and the zevochim soon, in our days.

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