Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 16   No. 25

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Pesach, Matzah & Maror
(Adapted from the Torah Temimah)

Commenting on the Pasuk in Bo (12:8) "And they shall eat the meat on this night, roasted and Matzos, with Maror they shall eat it (yochluhu)", the Mechilta writes that the Mitzvah initially is to eat the Korban Pesach together with Matzah and Maror. On the other hand, says the Medrash, the word "yochluhu", implies that in the event that one does not have Matzah and Maror, one can fulfill one's obligation with the Pesach on its own.

Finally, says the Mechilta, just as Matzah and Maror do not hold back the Korban Pesach, so too, does the Korban Pesach not hold back Matzah and Maror. Consequently, nowadays, when there is no Korban Pesach, one can nevertheless fulfill the Mitzvah of Matzah and Maror. Incidently, the Chasam Sofer maintains that in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash, one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah with Matzah or even with Matzah and Maror, without the Korban Pesach.


Based on this Mechilta, the Torah Temimah explains the change of text between here and the Parshah of Pesach Sheini in Beha'a'loscha (9:11), where the Torah writes " they shall eat it together with Matzos and Merorim", which is the Pasuk that we actually quote when eating Korech (Hillel's sandwich) at the Seider.

The word the Torah uses for together with ("al") he explains, has connotations of 'secondary'. Consequently, here (by Pesach Rishon) where the Mitzvah of Matzah is independent, the Torah inserts the word "al" only after "Matzos", indicating that the Mitzvah of Maror alone is dependant on the Pesach, but not that of Matzah, whereas in the Parshah of Pesach Sheini, where the Mitzvah of Matzah too, is dependant on the Korban Pesach, the Torah inserts it before "Matzos".

As we just explained, in both Parshiyos, the word "al" precedes "Maror". This is because, even on Pesach Rishon, there is no Mitzvah to eat Maror on its own, or even together with Matzah - only together with the Korban Pesach. The fact that we eat it today with Matzah is purely mi'de'Rabbanan, as the Gemara explains in Pesachim 120a (though the Gemara there learns that Matzah nowadays is min ha'Torah from the Pasuk in Bo [12:18] " bo'erev tochlu Matzos", and not from the same Pasuk as the Mechilta).


The Gemara there (115a) cites Hillel, who, based on the Pasuk in Beha'aloscha (that we quoted earlier) "with Matzos and Merorim they shall eat it", used to eat Matzah and Maror together (Korech). Whilst the Rabbanan learn from the Pasuk "Yochluhu" (in the singular) that they should be eaten separately.

The Torah Temimah (after querying the explanation of the Rashbam) explains that Hillel learns his Din from the Lashon "al Matzos u'Merorim ", which implies that they should be eaten together. This explains why the Ba'al Hagadah cites the Pasuk of Pesach Sheini, and not that of Pesach Rishon (which we quoted earlier) which does not imply that at all.

Moreover, the Chachamim can only learn their Din from this Pasuk, seeing as we already learned something else from the singular form of "Yochluhu" in Parshas Bo (as we explained earlier), justifying the Ba'al Hagadah's choice of Pasuk from all angles.


Nowadays, we first do like the Chachamim and eat Matzah and Maror separately, and then like Hillel, 'zeicher le'Mikdash ke'Hillel'.

As Tosfos in Pesachim points out, this is aptly referred to as a 'Zeicher (a commeration)' and no more. This is because although in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash, when Maror was min ha'Torah (as we explained earlier), there was no problem with eating Matzah and Maror (or as the Rambam writes 'Pesach, Matzah and Maror') together, due to the principle that Mitzvos cannot cancel one another (taste-wise), nowadays there is! Why is that? Because, whereas Matzah nowadays is min ha'Torah, Maror is only mi'de'Rabbanan, and a Mitzvah de'Rabbanan does not cancel out a Mitzvah min ha'Torah. Consequently, even Hillel would not have eaten Matzah and Maror together at the Seider today, in which case we do so only to commemorate what Hillel did in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash.


The Mechilta also learns from the Lashon "Yochluhu" (see Torah Temimah in Bo, note 69) that it is a Mitzvah to eat the Pesach 'al ha'sova' (last). Not only must one eat it after the Matzah and Maror, but even after the Korban Chagigah, in the event that one brought it with the Korban Pesach (which in itself, depended on a number of factors)


Pesach, Matzah & Maror
(Adapted from the Chasam Sofer)

Citing Rashi in B'rachos (17a), who equates the 'Maror' with the yeast in the dough (Chametz), and based on the Gemara in Bava Basra (16a), which further equates the Yeitzer ha'Ra with the Satan and with the Mal'ach ha'Ma'ves, the Chasam Sofer points out that the Gematriyah of 'Maror' is equivalent to that of 'Ma'ves' (death).


In describing Maror, the Gemara in Pesachim (39a) writes that it is sweet at first, but bitter at the end and that it contains poison, and later (on Daf 48b) it adds that the face of the dough turns pale.

The Yeitzer ha'Ra too, is sweet at the beginning (when he comes to entice man) and bitter at the end (when he prosecutes him and takes his Neshamah).

He too, has 'Saraf' (poison) In homiletic terms, the Pasuk refers to him as "Nochosh, Sorof and Akrav" (snake, serpent and scorpion).

And, like Maror, the Yeitzer ha'Ra causes the sinner's face to turn pale (with embarrassment).

On Seider night however, which is called 'Leil Shimurim' (a guarded night) - which is guarded from 'Mazikin' (damaging elements), Maror becomes known as 'Chasa' (pity), for on this night G-d takes pity on us and does not allow the destructive angel (the Yeitzer ha'Ra) to enter our houses and wreak havoc. Hence, the Mitzvah to combine Pesach, Matzah and Maror and eat them together - for the combined Gematriyah of Pesach, Matzah and Maror equals that of 'K'ra Satan' (tear up the Satan).

* * *

A Crumb of Chametz

Anyone who does not have even a 'Mashehu' of Chametz in his possession on Pesach, says the Arizal, is assured of not sinning the entire year.

If we remember that Chametz is symbolical of the Yeitzer ha'Ra ('the yeast in the dough'), then we can understand the Arizal's statement by referring to the Pasuk in Bereishis (4:7).

G-d tells Kayin there that the Yeitzer ha'Ra (which He refers to as 'sin') crouches at the door, waiting to enter and ensnare the owner. The commentaries explain this to mean that the Yeitzer ha'Ra waits outside for the door to open. As long as the door remains shut, he is harmless. The moment however, one opens the door even just a fraction (a mashehu), he forces his way in and proceeds to hold the owner to ransom. And so it is with Chametz. The secret is not to give the Yeitzer ha'Ra the opportunity to enter. No Chametz, no Yeitzer ha'Ra! No Yeitzer ha'Ra, no sin!


The Four Sections of the Seider

As the Mishnah in Arvei Pesachim clearly states, the four cups of wine form the basis of the four sections of the Seider: 'Kadeish', 'Maggid', 'Bareich' & 'Hallel'.

It seems to me that these four sections represent - 1. the Mitzvos that we were given before leaving Egypt (Rosh Chodesh, Pesach and Milah - bearing in mind that Mitzvos are synonymous with Kedushah, as is evident from the text of the B'rachah that we recite over Mitzvos; - 2. the Exodus from Egypt; 3. The sustenance that we receive from G-d in this world, and - 4. G-d's assurance that all of Yisrael own a portion in the World to Come.

And the cup of wine is raised as a mark of thanks for each of these kindnesses, which will explain why we drink the third cup after 'Bareich, rather that after 'Shulchan Orech' or after one of the other Simanim of eating.

* * *

(Adapted from the 'Ta'amei ha'Minhagim')

No 'Simchah' on Pesach

The reason that the Torah does not write "Simchah" on Pesach, says the Tanya Rabasi, is because the Egyptians were drowned on Pesach. Therefore, says the Medrash, it inserts an extra "Simchah" on Succos, one for itself and one for Pesach, seeing as, when all's said and done, the Mitzvah of "ve'somachto be'chagecho" applies equally to Pesach (and the omission is merely symbolical).

The Taz gives the same reason for not reciting whole Hallel after the first day of Pesach. This is difficult to understand however, bearing in mind a. that Yisrael at the Yam-Suf did sing Shirah even as the Egyptians were in the act of drowning, and b. that even the Angels were only forbidden to sing Shirah whilst the Egyptians were actually drowning, but not on the following day (Torah Temimah).


Counting the Omer

One reason for the Mitzvah of counting the Omer, says the Avudraham, is because this is the season when the crops and the fruit of the tree reach or approach completion, and everybody is worried about that year's harvest. For so Chazal have taught us (that we bring the Korban Omer on Pesach in order that G-d should bless our crops and the Sh'tei ha'Lechem that He should bless the fruit of the trees).

So G-d introduced the obligation to count (take stock) of these days, to remind us how the world is suffering, so that we should do Teshuvah with all our hearts. That in turn, will encourage us to Daven to Him to have mercy on us, to allow the crops to grow as they should ... .


Alternatively, he says, it is due to the fact that everybody is busy with crops. Consequently, the Torah has given us the Mitzvah of Sefiras ha'Omer, as a reminder not to forget to go to Yerushalayim when the Yom-Tov of Shavu'os arrives.


Missing a Day

It is generally accepted that if someone misses out one complete day of the Omer, that he continues to count without a B'rachah. The Tanya however, writes that if one missed the first day, one counts on the second night, using the following text: 'Yesterday was the first day of the Omer, and today is the second'. Firstly, he says, the concept of 'Temimos' is confined to the weeks (and not the days, even though this argument per se is not accepted as Halachah), and secondly, since, on the subsequent nights, one continues to count in order - the second day, the third day , it is still considered 'Temimos'.


After the Sefirah

The reason that (notwithstanding the opinion of the G'ra) many people recite the 'Y'hi Rozton' (including a Tefilah for the rebuilding of the Beis-Hamikdash) after counting the Omer each night, is because Sefiras ha'Omer nowadays is only mi'de'Rabanan, says the Mateh Moshe, so we ask Hashem to rebuild the Beis-Hamikdash, so that we should be able to fulfill the Mitzvah min ha'Torah.


And the reason that they also introduced the recital of the Mizmor "Elokim yechoneinu vi'yevorcheinu" (Kapitel 67) is because it comprises seven Pesukim and forty-nine words, corresponding to the weeks and the days of the Omer, respectively (Be'er Miriam).


Shir ha'Shirim on Pesach

We read Shir ha'Shirim on Chol ha'Mo'ed Pesach (or on the last day of Yom-Tov, should it fall on Shabbos), says the Magen Avraham, because it specifically mentions Yetzi'as Mitzraym; and we read Koheles on Chol ha'Mo'ed Succos (or on the last day of Yom-Tov, should it fall on Shabbos), because they are days of extreme Simchah, and Koheles writes - "u'le'simchah mah zu osah!", warning us to not to carry the rejoicing too far.

And we read Megilas Rus on Shevu'os, he says, based on the Yalkut, which specifically explains that we do so as a reminder that the way to acquire Torah is through suffering and poverty (see also Pirkei Avos 6:4).


The Avudraham gives a different reason for the Minhag to Lein Shir Hashirim on Pesach. He ascribes it to the fact that the Pasuk talks about the Redemption from Egypt, where the first enslavement of Yisrael and their redemption took place, when it cites G-d's words to Yisrael "I likened you, my beloved to the horses of Par'oh's chariots".

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 486:
Not to Leave Over from the Chagigah

It is forbidden to leave over from the Chagigah (the Korban that is brought together with the Korban Pesach to increase the Simchah) until the third day. One should therefore make sure to finish it within two days (the fourteenth and the fifteenth before nightfall of the sixteenth]; and it is in this connection that the Torah writes in Parshas Re'ei (16:4) " and none of the flesh that you Shecht in the afternoon on the first day shell remain until the morning". Traditionally, this Pasuk is referring to the Chagigah that is brought together with the Pesach, and that can be eaten for two days. And it is in connection with this Chagigah that the Torah writes in Re'ei (16:2) "and you shall Shecht the 'Pesach' for Hashem sheep and cattle", meaning that one should bring another Korban with the Pesach to increase the Simchah.

A reason for the Mitzvah is based on the fact that the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach is a fundamental principle of our religion, which is why we are commanded to treat the day on which it is brought as a joyous one - and a person's joy cannot be complete without a sizeable helping of meat. And it is for the same reason that we are forbidden to leave over anything that has been Shechted in honour of Simchas Pesach until the third day; but rather to make sure that we eat it, if possible, on the first day (Lechatchilah), so as to increase the rejoicing and the feeling of joyous satisfaction. And this is in addition to the apt reason that the author gave in Parshas Tzav (Mitzvah 143) regarding the general prohibition of leaving over Kodshim.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal have said that the Korban Chagigah of the fourteenth does not cover the obligation to bring a Chagigah on Yom-Tov, which is an independent Mitzvah, as we learned in Parshas Mishpatim (Mitzvah 88). It does however, cover the Simchah on Yom-Tov, which is also a Mitzvah, as we shall see later in the Parshah (Mitzvah 488). This is because the Mitzvah of Simchah is to eat a lot of meat in order to feel happy, so there is no reason why one should not fulfill it with meat from the Chagigah of the fourteenth. Indeed, it is for this very reason that Chazal permit using even one's Nedarim and Nedavos for the Shalmei Simchah, provided of course, one eats them at the time of Simchah (although they do not need to be Shechted at the time of Simchah) - nor in fact, do they need to be Shechted specifically with the Mitzvah of Simchah in mind. All this is because the basic Mitzvah is merely to increase the Simchah by eating a lot of meat, as we explained Other details of the Mitzvah are discussed in Maseches Chagigah and in certain places in Maseches Pesachim (and in the Rambam, Hilchos Korban Pesach, chapter 10).

This Mitzvah applies at the time of the Beis-Hamikdash, to both men and women, seeing as women are also obligated to eat Shalmei Simchah just like men (despite the fact that it is a time-related Mitzvah), since they are obligated to rest (i.e. to desist from working) on this day. Whoever contravenes the Mitzvah and leaves over anything from this Chagigah until the third day, is obligated to burn it in fire, just like one does with Nosar. And since one can rectify the La'av by performing the accompanying Asei, it is not subject to Malkos.


Mitzvah 487:
Not to Bring the Korban Pesach on a Bomas Yachid

It was forbidden to bring the Korban Pesach on a Bomas Yachid (a private altar), even at a time when Bamos were permitted. What is a Bamas Yachid? Before the Beis-Hamikdash was built, any person who fancied bringing a Korban was permitted to build a structure wherever it suited him, and sacrifice on it his Korbanos to Hashem -. Even then however, one was permitted to bring other Korbanos on it, but not the Korban Pesach, which could only be brought on a communal Bamah, which is equivalent to the location of the Mishkan. And it is in this connection that the Torah writes in Re'ei (16:5) "You are not permitted to Shecht the Pesach within any of your gates ". And so they said at the end of the first Perek of Megilah 'The only difference between a large Bamah and a small one is the Korban Pesach'.

A reason for the Mitzvah is to fix in our minds the greatness of the Korban Pesach and the importance of the Mitzvah, based on the reason that the author has presented many times - because the honour of the Mitzvah and its publicity increase when it is performed in a specific location by all the people together, rather than everybody individually.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah are discussed in the first chapter of Megilah.

This Mitzvah applies in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash, since that is when we bring the Korban Pesach, both to men and to women, who are also obligated to bring the Korban Pesach, as the author explained in Parshas Bo, in the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach (Mitvah 5). It may well be however, that someone who designates a lamb for a Korban Pesach and who then brings it on a Bamas Yachid, will have transgressed the La'av and will be subject to Malkos, even nowadays.

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