This issue is sponsored
Vol. 19 No. 26
Zehava Lurie,a"h Boris Glassman,z"l
Pauline & Issy Chernick,z"l
Glassman, Schwartz, Chernick Families
of Jerusalem. Efrat, Netanya, Johannesburg,
Toronto, Perth, New York, Harare
(Adapted from the K'li Yakar)
The K'li Yakar delves into the deeper meaning behind Matzah, and why G-d commanded us to eat it (and not Chametz) on Pesach, as well as why the Korban Minchah comprises Matzah and not Chametz.
In his second explanation, he attributes this to the fact that Matzah, which is made from dough that has not risen, symbolizes humility, and it is precisely because K'lal Yisrael possess the ability to humble themselves that G-d chose them. As the Gemara in Chulin (89a), commenting on the Pasuk at the end of Va'eschanan explains, 'It is because you do not aggrandize yourselves, but rather make yourselves small, that G-d desires you and has chosen you from all the nations … '. Indeed, as the Torah writes there (6:7) "What does G-d ask from you other than to fear him?" and it is the Midah of humility that leads to the fear of G-d, as Chazal have taught.
The Gemara there gives examples of various Jewish kings who humbled themselves before the majesty of G-d, as opposed to gentile kings whose greatness went to their heads, to the point that they called themselves god or built palaces in the sky (by means of black-magic).
Quoting G-d, Chazal have also said that He is unwilling to live together with a conceited person in the same dwelling. Conversely, the more a person humbles himself, the more G-d's Majesty manifests itself in the world. Moreover, says the author, the very purpose of Galus Mitzrayim was to teach K'lal Yisrael and bring them to the point of total humility in the 'furnace of affliction', and to learn to place their complete faith in G-d. And it was as a result of their humility that they were freed from the sovereignty of the nations, which they replaced with the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven.
And it is based on the Medrash, which informs us that anyone who is conceited is judged with fire, that Chametz needs to be burned. He wants to raise himself, the K'li Yakar explains, therefore he deserves to be burned in fire, which automatically rises. Furthermore, Chazal have said that unlike all other Midos, where one should ideally take the middle path, pride is something that one should totally eliminate, as the Gemara says in Sotah 5a, where they forbade even the smallest amount of pride. And the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (4:4), too, clearly states "Be very, very lowly of spirit!' That explains why even the smallest amount of Chametz is forbidden, and does not become Bateil, even one in sixty.
The commentaries point out that there are two kinds of Matzos. There is the 'the Bread of affliction, which our forefathers ate in Egypt', and there is the Matzah of freedom, which they ate upon going from slavery into freedom. The former represented the humiliation forced upon them by their Egyptian overlords; the latter the self afflicted humility that they displayed when they took upon themselves to be servants of their Heavenly Overlord.
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"And these are the Halachos with regard to eating it (the Korban Pesach) this time (only) but not in future generations: your loins should be girded, your shoes on your feet and your staffs in your hands. And you shall eat it hurriedly due to the Shechinah of the Master of the World, who has taken pity over you" (12:11).
"And I will reveal Myself in the land of Egypt on this night, accompanied by nine hundred thousand destructive angels and I will kill all the firstborn … from man to animal, and I will strike all the Egyptian idols in four different ways: the metal idols will melt, the stone ones will break into pieces, those made of clay will fragment and those made of wood will be cut-up, so that Egypt shall know that I am G-d" (12:12).
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Of Staffs and Donkeys
The Ibn Ezra points out that the significance of the staffs that they were instructed to hold in their hands was in order to lead their donkeys. According to the Medrash, each person took out ninety donkeys laden with the 'spoils' that they took out with them, though how they managed to look after ninety fully-laden donkeys (not to forget that the spoils of the Yam-Suf exceeded those of Egypt) boggles the mind!
Whose Haste (1)?
The above-mentioned Targum Yonosan interprets the "Chipozon" mentioned in the Pasuk with reference to G-d.
The simple explanation of this concept seems to conform with the commentaries who explain that Yisrael left Egypt after two hundred and ten years (a hundred and ninety years, before the planned four hundred year period said to Avraham had expired), because they had sunk so low, that had they remained in Egypt for one more moment, they would have become so assimilated, that taking them out could not have been justified. Hence Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu was in a hurry to redeem Yisrael before it was too late.
The K'li Yakar however, citing the Mechilta (which agrees with Targum Yonasan), attributes G-d's hurry to the fact that Egypt was full of idols (problematic, seeing as He destroyed them all). He came to Egypt to perform the task of killing the Egyptian firstborn and of taking Yisrael out of Egypt, but could not get out fast enough (Kevayachol). What the Pasuk therefore means is that Yisrael had to eat the Pesach in a hurry to co-ordinate with G-d, who was in a hurry to leave.
Whose Haste (2)?
The Gemara in B'rachos (on Daf 9a) however, concludes that everyone agrees that Yisrael became free at night, and that they left Egypt in the day. And the dispute between R. Elazar ben Azaryah and R. Akiva over whether to eat the Korban Pesach by midnight or until the morning, is based on their interpretation of "Chipozon", whether it refers to the haste of the Egyptians or that of Yisrael.
When the Egyptians arose in the middle of the night and discovered that all their firstborn had died, terrified that they were all destined to die, they wanted Yisrael to leave Egypt immediately. Come morning, and they saw that nobody had died after midnight, their fear dissipated, and they were no longer in a hurry to send Yisrael away.
Yisrael, on the other hand, were in no hurry to leave. On the contrary, they were busy celebrating their first Seider, and they had been given express orders not even to leave their homes until morning. And it was only in the morning, when they began preparing to leave Egypt, that they rushed to leave as soon as possible. Some commentaries explain that this was because they were afraid to divulge the secret that they had no intention of returning with the wealth of 'borrowed' items that the Egyptians had lent them until their return.
Consequently, according to R. Elazar ben Azaryah, Yisrael had to eat the Korban Pesach until midnight (Chipozon de'Mitzrayim), and according to Rebbi Akiva, until morning (Chipozon de'Yisrael).
I Left Egypt!
The Ba'al Hagadah writes that 'In each generation we are obligated to consider ourselves as having left Egypt … '.
Why should we? asks R. Chayim Kanievski Sh'lita. Why will the knowledge that our fathers left Egypt not suffice?
To answer the question, he cites the Gemara in B'rachos (28b), where, in answer to his Talmidim's request for a B'rachah, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai responded with 'May your fear of Heaven be as strong as your fear of people!'
And in response to their query 'Is that all?' he replied 'Halevai! (if only!),' adding when a person wishes to sin, he first makes sure that nobody is watching. To be sure, he knows that G-d is, yet … .
To understand this phenomenon, R. Chayim explains that there are two kinds of knowledge, one factual (in the brain), the other instinctive (in the heart).
And (unfortunately) it is human nature for the latter to be more powerful than the former.
It seems to me that this idea is encapsulated in the Pasuk in Va'eschanan (4:39) "And you shall know today (with your Seichel) and take to heart that Hashem your G-d is in the Heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other!".
… (to be cont.)
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