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

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Vol. 18   No. 30

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmos
Zahava Lurie a"h, Boris Glassman z"l Shimmy Schwartz z"l
Pauline & Issy Chernick z"l
From the
Glassman, Schwartz, Chernick Families
of Jerusalem, Efrat, Netanya, Johannesburg, Toronto, Perth, New York, Harare

Pesach Supplement

Unbaked Dough or Matzos

"And the people took their dough before it rose, the leftovers (mish'arosom) wrapped in their cloths on their shoulders" (12:34).

Commenting on the Pasuk, Rashi explains

"Before it became Chametz": Because the Egyptians did not allow them to wait until the dough finished baking.

"The leftovers": The remains of Matzah and Maror (from their Seider of the previous night).

"On their shoulders": Even though they took out many animals with them, they endeared the Mitzvos (by carrying the Matzos personally).

In Pasuk 39, the Torah explains that they baked the aforementioned dough as Matzah cakes ". Targum Yonasan there explains that they placed the dough on their heads, where it baked in the sun.


These two Pesukim are puzzling, to say the least.

1. Was it unbaked dough that they took out or leftover Matzos?

2. Did they carry them on their shoulders or on their heads?

3. If it was unbaked dough, how does the concept of endearment apply (since no Mitzvah had yet been performed with them)?

4. How could the dough bake in the sun without turning Chametz, and

5. If someone were to offer me Matzos that had been wrapped in a cloth before baking, I would decline the offer, and I'm sure that you would too!


Targum Yonasan answers all but the fourth question by simply adding a 'Vav' to the word "mish'arosom", thereby dividing the Pasuk into two statements. It then transpires that they took out of Egypt - the unbaked dough (which they placed on their heads according Targum Yonasan) and the leftover Matzah and Maror from the previous night's Seider, which they carried wrapped in cloths on their shoulders.


One can extrapolate the same answer from the Ramban's comment on Pasuk 39, where he writes ' therefore they carried the dough and the leftovers on their shoulders (the dough as well - not like Targum Yonasan).

However, he continues 'and they hurried and baked it before it rose (either) on the way (as they traveled) or in Succos, where they arrived in a very short time, as the Mechilta teaches us. The Ramban is clearly bothered by the fourth question, though he implies it from a time factor as he talks about baking it directly (as opposed to baking it in the sun, as Targum Yonasan explains).

Even with the Ramban's answer, it is difficult to conceive a few million people gathering in Ra'amses with all their belongings, and then traveling to Succos, without the dough rising (within eighteen minutes!). To envisage it, the measure of 'Kefitzas ha'Derech' (Divinely-inspired timeless traveling) they experienced is mind-boggling.


Rebbi Chayim Kanievski Sh'lita poses another question. Citing the Rambam, who in Hilchos Bikurim (6:12), rules that if a dough is baked in the sun, it is exempt from Chalah, and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 168:13 & 21) which rules that it is not called bread and that one does not recite a 'Motzi' over it, he asks how we will understand the Targum Yonasan that we quoted earlier (that the Matzos in the Desert were baked by the sun)?


And he answers, based a. on a Gemara in Bava Basra (84a) and a Gemara in Shabbos (39a) in connection with the fires of Gehinom and of the Hot Springs of Teverya, and b. on the Gemara in B'rachos (9b) which informs us that Yisrael left Egypt in the morning. It seems, he concludes, that Targum Yonasan, based on these three Gemaras maintains that dough that is baked by the heat of the sun in the morning, is indeed considered bread. Consequently, it is subject to Chalah, requires the B'rachah 'ha'Motzi' and one can use it to fulfill the Mitzvah of Matzah.

* * *

Snippets for the Seider
(Adapted from the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim)

Why No B'rachah

Seeing as reciting the Hagadah is a Mitzvas Asei, the commentaries ask, why do we not recite a B'rachah over it, like we do before reading the Megilah?

In one answer, the Avudraham explains that the words that we say in Kidush "Zeicher li'yetzi'as Mitzrayim" serves as the B'rachah to the Hagadah.

Whereas citing the Rashba, he explains that Hagadah belongs to the category of Mitzvos that have no fixed amount (since, on the one hand, one can be Yotzei with a minimal amount, whilst on the other, we say 'Kol ha'Marbeh lesaper harei zeh meshubach') which does not require a B'rachah.

The P'ri Megadim answers that 'asher ge'olonu' that we recite at the end of Magid, is in fact, the B'rachah over the Hagadah. But why do we recite the B'rachah at the end, and not at the beginning, to conform with the principle of 'Over la'asiyoso' (reciting the B'rachah immediately prior to performing the Mitzvah)?

The Chasam Sofer compares this to a Ger, who only recites the B'rachah over the Tevilah after Toveling, since he is unfit to recite a B'rachah beforehand (indeed, this Halachah extends to every Tamei person who Tovels, and even to Netilas Yadayim - by all of which the B'rachah follows the Mitzvah, because until the Mitzvah has been performed, one is Tamei). Here too, we only recite the B'rachah after we have left Tum'as Mitzrayim - at the conclusion of Magid!


Breaking the Middle Matzah

The reason that we break the (middle) Matzah into two before 'Ho lachma anya' at the beginning of the Seider, says the Avudraham, is in order to recite 'Ho lachma anya ' , in keeping with the Gemara in Pesachim that we eat broken bread (unleavened) at the Seider, because it is the way of a poor man to eat broken bread.

And the reason that one designates the larger piece for the Afikoman is because the Afikoman that one eats at the end of the Se'udah is the main Mitzvah of Matzah (Taz). This is because, when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, one first eats the rest of the meal, and then at the end, one eats a piece of Pesach together with Matzah and Maror, in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of "Ve'ochlu es ha'bosor ba'laylah ha'zeh tz'li eish u'matzos, al merorim yochlhu" (Bo 12:8).


Moror for the Afikomon

The Ba'al ha'Tanya asks why do we not eat Maror for the Afikomon, just as we do for Matzah?

And he answers that it is because whereas Matzah nowadays is min ha'Torah, Moror is only mi'de'Rabbanan. It is therefore appropriate to use Matzah to commemorate the Pesach which is min ha'Torah, and not Maror.

Perhaps one can also answer that, bearing in mind that the reason for the Afikomon is so that a taste of the Seider, and the miracles that it represents, remains in our mouths, nobody wants the bitter taste of Moror and the bitter times that it commemorates, to remain in his mouth.


The Matzos that Our Fathers
Ate in Egypt

'This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt'. But how can we say that, when the Torah explicitly writes that it was the dough that they took out of Egypt that did not rise and that turned into Matzah, asks the Avudraham?

And he cites the Ibn Ezra, who related how, when he was a captive in Egypt, they fed him only Matzah, never bread. The reason for this is because, due to its hard texture, Matzah takes longer to digest, and requires less to feed. And that, it appears, is what the Egyptians of old fed their Jewish slaves, too.

In any event, says the Ya'avetz, the Matzos that they ate in Egypt may well refer to those that they ate together with Maror and with the Pesach the night before.


The bi-Lingual Paragraph

One of the reasons that we start 'Ho lachmo anyo' in Arama'ic is so that the Mazikin (demons) - who understand Lashon ha'Kodesh but not Arama'ic (like the angels) - should not understand the invitation that follows ('Kol dichfin, yeisei ve'yeichol!'). Were they to do so, they would inevitably accept it and proceed to disrupt the proceedings (Pardes Ha'Godol).

And we conclude it in Lashon ha'Kodesh ('le'Shonoh ha'bo'oh b'nei-chorin') so that the Persians (in whose domain our ancestors lived when 'Ho lachmo anyo' was composed), should not overhear the proclamation, and understand that we want to run away (Maharal).


All the Halochos of the Pesach

In reply to the wise child's question, the Ba'al Hagadah instructs us to tell him the Hilchos ha'Pesach (until) 'Ein maftirin achar ha'Pesach Afikoman'. What he means is to tell him all the Dinim of Pesach concluding with 'Ein Maftirin ', which is the last Mishnah that deals with Hilchos Pesach. With that, he will have an answer to all his questions.


A Segulah for Childbirth

The Seifer Imrei No'am cites Tzadikim, who say that the Afikoman is a Segulah for childbirth. This is hinted he says, in the Medrash, which points out that, in response to Paroh's "Pen yirbeh" (Lest they increase), Ru'ach ha'Kodesh retorted "Kein yirbeh", and the Gematriyah of 'Kein yirbeh' is equivalent to that of 'Afikoman'.

Perhaps one might also add (tongue in cheek) that it also hints at the children's increase in wealth, since it is on account of the Afikoman that many children come out of the Seider considerably richer than when they went in.


Spilling a Few Drops of Wine

The reason for the Minhag to spill a drop of wine with the mention of each of the Ten Plagues and the words 'Dam, ve'Eish, ve'Simros Oshon' is based on the Pasuk in Va'eiro "Etzba Elokim Hi" (It is the finger of G-d) as stated by the Egyptian sorcerers themselves. Consequently, one should spill the wine with one's forefinger (since that is what 'Etzba' actually means).

According to the Arizal however, the wine should be spilt directly from one's cup into a broken vessel. And the reason for the Minhag, he explains, is based on the concept of bribing the Sitra Achra (the Satan) to stop him from bringing our sins before Hashem whenever we reach great heights in Avodas Hashem. The source of bringing the Satan is Ya'akov Avinu who bribed the Satan's prodigy Eisav, and this is one of the well-known reasons for the Sa'ir la'Az'azel on Yom Kipur (See 'Highlights', Parshas Achrei-Mos 16:8 DH 'The Chizkuni'). So we pour him out a bit of wine, to satisfy his lust for the pleasures of this world.


Shirah al ha'Yayin

Before beginning 'Lefichach' (which, in its role as the introduction to Hallel, describes our obligation to sing G-d's praises) we raise the cup of wine. This is because, as Chazal say (in connection with the Levi'im, who began to sing Shirah in the Beis-Hamikdash each day as the Kohen poured the wine on the Mizbei'ach) 'Ein omrin Shirah ela al ha'yayin'.

* * *

Be'tzeis Yisrael mi'Mitzrayim
(Explanations of R. Chayim Kanievski Sh'lita, adapted from Hagadas Kehilos Ya'akov)

The Yerushalmi in B'rachos (1:6) states that one should mention K'ri'as Yam-Suf together with Yetzi'as Mitzrayim. The G'ro explains that this is because it was the completion of the Exodus.

R. Chayim concludes that, this being the case, K'ri'as Yam-Suf is included in the obligation of considering oneself as having gone out of Egypt, and one is obligated to consider oneself as having done so - on Seider night (not on the seventh day of Pesach, when K'ri'as Yam-Suf took place).


The Reed Sea and the River Jordan (1)

"The Sea saw and it fled, the Yarden turned back".

The Seas split, R. Chayim explains, and the water 'fled' to the two sides where they piled up like a wall. Hence the Pasuk describes the Sea as having "fled". On the other hand, when the Yarden split, the water continued flowing from the north, only when it reached the point of crossing, it drew back and flowed into a wall, brick upon brick. There the Pasuk writes that the water "turned back".


The Reed Sea and the River Jordan (2)


Rashi explains that when the Sea split, also the Yarden turned back, because in fact, all the water in the world split. And he repeats this in Parshas Beshalach (14:21), where, on the Pasuk " and He turned the Sea into dry land, and the water split", he comments 'all the water in the world'.

R. Chayim points out that the Gematriyah of " ha'Yam le'charovoh va'yibok'u ha'mayim" is equivalent to that of 'Kol mayim she'be'olom' (all the water in the world).


What Was the Point?

Why, asks R. Chayim, did G-d see fit to split all the water in the world? What was the point of such a miracle?

Had He split only the Yam-Suf, he explains, the Egyptians would not have dared to follow Yisrael into the Sea, since it was clear that the miracle had occurred in their honour. But now that all the water in the world split, it must be some natural phenomenon that had occurred, that had nothing to do with K'lal Yisrael - so they gave chase.

* * *

(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 485
Not to Eat Chametz on Erev Pesach After Midday (cont.)

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal have said that one may eat Chametz during the first four hours of the day, leave it in abeyance during the fifth hour (i.e. neither eat it [a decree, on account of a cloudy day] nor necessarily burn it), though one is permitted to benefit from it to feed it to animals or to sell it to a gentile. And to burn it from the beginning of the sixth hour, when it is Asur mi'd'Oraysa, as we explained. And the Chachamim there (in Pesachim) also learned this from another Pasuk. Since, on the one hand, the Torah writes in Parshas Bo (12:18) "Seven days yeast shall not be found in your houses"; whereas in Pasuk, it writes "But on the first day you shall destroy yeast from your houses". To resolve the discrepancy, the Gemara explains that the Torah is actually coming to include the fourteenth day for destruction. In other words, "the first day" means the day before (as in the Pasuk in Iyov (15:7) "Ho'rishon Adam tivoled [Were you born before Adam?]). And from the Torah's obligation to destroy one's Chametz on that day, it is self-understood that part of the day is permitted - since it is impossible to pinpoint the first moment of the day and to destroy it then. And since part of the day must be permitted, and the Torah does not teach us which part, it is logical to divide the day into two and to permit Chametz until midday, since to divide it in any other way would have no basis. And this is what they mean when they say "Ach" divides.. But those commentaries who explain that the word "Ach" is equivalent (using the Gematriyah of 'Ach"s Bet"a ', says the author, do not understand the words of the Chachamim All other details are explained in the first Perek of Pesachim.

This Mitzvah applies to men and women everywhere and at all time, even nowadays when there is no Korban Pesach. Anyone who contravenes it and eats a k'Zayis of Chametz after midday is subject to Malkos according to the Rambam, who holds like Rebbi Yehudah, that Chametz before its time (on the fourteenth of Nisan after midday) has transgressed this La'av. The Ramban however, maintains rules like Rebbi Shimon, in whose opinion one transgresses a La'av neither before Pesach, nor after it. On the contrary, he learns from the Pasuk "Do not eat on it Chametz, seven days one shall eat on it Matzah" that the La'av of not eating Chametz and the obligation to eat Matzah apply simultaneously. Consequently, before and after Pesach, when there is no obligation to eat Matzah, there is no prohibition to eat Chametz either. According to Rebbi Shimon therefore, the word "on it" (olov) refers, not to the time that one Shechts the Korban Pesach, but to the time that one eats it - after nightfall. And that is how the Yerushalmi explains the Machlokes between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon In any event, it is clear from the Gemara that according to all opinions, one is forbidden after six hours. Likewise, according to the Gemara, the Chachamim issued various prohibitions to avoid transgressing the Isur d'Oraysa of deriving benefit from it after six hours. But this refers to the MItzvas Asei of destroying the Chametz. There is no La'av - like the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, which is the Halachah. It transpires that according to the Ramban, there is no La'av at all against eating Chametz on Erev Pesach afternoon. Chazal have already taught us that 'The Torah has seventy faces', and that when there is a difference of opinion that 'Both are the words of the Living G-d'.

* * *

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