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

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Vol. 11   No. 24

This issue is sponsored
with wishes for a Refu'ah Sheleimah for
Moshe Daniel ben Devorah n.y.
Akiva Hoshe'a ben Devorah n.y.

(Shabbos ha'Gadol)

Take a Lamb (Adapted from the B'nei Yisaschar)

The Gemara in Yuma (86b) states 'How great is Teshuvah, which brings the redemption closer', as the Pasuk writes in Yeshayah (59:20) "And the redeemer will come to Tziyon and to those who do Teshuvah ... ".

The Medrash Rabah comments on the Pasuk in Bo (12:21) "Mishchu u'k'chu lachem tzon (Draw and take for yourselves sheep ... )" 'that is what is written in Yeshayah (30:15) "With Teshuvah and pleasantness you will be saved". '

Needless to say, this Medrash begs explanation.

The B'nei Yisaschar cites the Mechilta who explains "Mishchu u'k'chu lachem tzon" as 'Withdraw from idolatry and take yourselves a lamb of Mitzvah (for the Korban Pesach)'. The key word, he explains, is "lachem (for yourselves)", which the Mechilta interprets as 'for your benefit', as we shall now see.

Basically, he explains there are two kinds of Teshuvah, Teshuvah out of fear and Teshuvah out of love. The former, which is based on the Pasuk in Tehilim (34:15) "Depart from evil", is a lower level of Teshuvah. It is passive and the performer derives no pleasure from it. The latter, on the other hand, is a higher level of Teshuvah, based on the continuation of the Pasuk "and do good". It entails action, and affords the person who does it immense pleasure.

Chazal have said that Teshuvah out of fear transforms the sins that one performs be'Meizid (deliberately) into Shogeg (involuntary acts); whereas Teshuvah out of love not only wipes the slate clean, but it transforms the sins that one performs be'Meizid into Mitzvos.


With this, we can understand the difficult Medrash Rabah.

The passive withdrawal from idolatry of which the Torah speaks, refers to Teshuvah out of fear, whereas taking a lamb of Mitzvah represents Teshuvah out of love (inherent in the rituals that one performs in the service of G-d, particularly when they are performed with self-sacrifice, as they were here).

Withdrawing from idolatry therefore, constituted only an incomplete Teshuvah, which did not yet merit the salvation. It was only when they then took the lamb of Mitzvah (and displayed their love of G-d) that they merited the redemption from Egypt. And this is even hinted in the Kabalistic source of the two kinds of Teshuvah. According to that source, Teshuvah out of fear is based on the last 'Hey' of G-d's four-letter Name' (which symbolizes 'Malchus', the basis of the Fear of G-d), whereas Teshuvah out of love is based on the first 'Hey' (symbolizing 'Binah', which is the source of freedom, known as 'the 'Yovel ha'Gadol').


Based on the Chazal with which we began 'How great is Teshuvah ... ', we can also now understand why the Shabbos before Pesach is called Shabbos ha'Gadol (the Great Shabbos). Withdrawing from idolatry and taking a lamb of Mitzvah was the first act of Teshuvah (a great act) and it led to the first redemption of K'lal Yisrael, which also falls under the title 'great' (inasmuch as redemption is a form of new creation, about which Chazal have said 'The world was created with Chesed', and 'Chesed' is represented by 'Gedulah (greatness)' the first of the ten Midos expressed in the Pasuk "Lecha Hashem ha'gedulah, ve'ha'gevurah ... ".

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Rosh on the Chumash and the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)

Saved by his Sons

"Command Aharon and his sons ... " (6:2).

The Medrash explains that, although Aharon's sons are mentioned in the Parshah of Vayikra, Aharon is not, because he was in disgrace, due to his role in the sin of the Golden Calf.

So Moshe said to G-d 'Ribono shel Olom, who has ever heard of a pit that is hated and its water, pleasant? Did you not issue a prohibition to cut down an olive-tree because its fruit produces oil for the Menorah and for the Menachos'?

By the same token then, if Aharon's sons are beloved by You, then You must favour their father (and pardon him) for their sake!

At that point, the Rebbe (G-d) conceded to the Talmid (Moshe) that he was right, and He began Parshas Tzav with the words "Command Aharon" (Rosh).


The Minchah of a Kohen

"And every Minchah of a Kohen shall be entirely burned" (6:16).

If the Kohen were to eat his own Minchah, together with his brothers, the other Kohanim of his group, comments the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos, all he would be giving Hashem was one fistful of flour. When, on the other hand, a Yisrael brings a Minchah, he gives the fistful to Hashem, plus the remainder of his Korban (nothing of which he retains). Only, Hashem after receiving the gift, orders the Minchah to be given to His servants, the Kohanim. The fact that the Kohanim eat the leftovers in no way diminishes the gift, seeing as the Kohanim only eat it in their capacity as G-d's servants. Nor can we compare the Kohen's Minchah to his Chatas and Asham, which the Kohanim do in fact eat, because there, G-d receives a substantial gift from the owner, in the form of all the Chalavim and parts of the Korban that are given to Him from every Korban. So it doesn't matter if at the same time, the Kohanim benefit from the rest of the animal.


All in the Right Order

"Take Aharon and his sons with him ... " (8:2).

Rashi explains that this Parshah was said seven days before the setting up of the Mishkan (because there is no absolute order in the events recorded in the Torah).

The Rosh however, does not understand why he says that. The Parshah in Tetzaveh, he explains, was said seven days before the setting up of the Mishkan, whereas this Parshah was said seven days later, at the time when it was actually erected, conforming with Chazal, who have said that one warns before the event, and again, when the event falls due.


Take Aharon

"Take Aharon ("Kach es Aharon"), the Rosh explains, is a reference to the word "Kach", with which Aharon was destined later to rise to greatness. This refers to the plague following the episode with Korach (17:11), where Moshe addressed Aharon with the words "Kach es ha'machtah" - Take the pan and place on it fire" (17:11). 'Moshe', Aharon asked his brother, 'are you trying to kill me? When my sons brought the fire of a Hedyot into the Kodesh, they died, and now you want me to take the fire of Hekdesh outside!'

'Hurry', Moshe retorted. 'Whilst you are talking, people are dying. Quickly do as I say! Take the Ketores and atone for them'.

When Aharon heard that, he took the Ketores, just as Moshe had commanded him ... and, pan of Ketores in hand, he stopped the plague (see Rashi there). As a result, his esteem rose in the eyes of the people - all because of the word "kach".


Space No Problem

"And assemble all the people ..." (8:3).

To Moshe's question 'Where to', G-d replied "to the entrance of the Ohel Mo'ed".

'Ribono shel Olam', exclaimed Moshe, 'You are asking me to gather six hundred thousand men and six hundred thousand youth to a space the size of sasayim (fifty by a hundred Amos)'?

'Why are you so surprised?' G-d replied. I created the Heaven no larger than the cataract of an eye, yet I spread it out from one end of the world to the other (see Yeshayah 40:22), Also at the time of Techiyas ha'Meisim, when I resurrect all those people who lived from the time of Adam ha'Rishon until then, where will they all stand? Initially in fact, they will complain of the terrible squash (Yeshayah 49:20), but then I will widen the space on which they are standing (ibid. 54:2), and there will be room for them all.


Filling the Kohen's Hands

" ... because for seven days He will 'fill your hands' " (8:33).

The Rosh interprets this as 'filling your hands with the Korbanos'. Indeed, when the Kohanim served in the Mishkan, they really did 'have their hands full', particularly in that generation, when at the time they actually began to serve on a daily basis, there were only three Kohanim (Aharon and his two sons, Elazar and Isamar) to serve a few million people. The Rosh's explanation is actually the third (and final) interpretation of these words cited by the Ramban in Parshas Tetzaveh (29:33). The Ramban himself explains the phrase to mean 'completion', because, he says, the Avodah of K'lal Yisrael only reaches its fulfillment in the Beis-Hamikdash. And he cites Targum Yonasan and others as a source.

Rashi there (with whom the Ramban disagrees), interprets the phrase as 'consecrate', and it refers to the ram of the Milu'im and the loaves that accompanied it. If we interpret hands as a symbol of action (which explains why we wash our hands on so many occasions [to symbolize the sanctification of the actions that we are about to perform]), then it fits beautifully into the context of the 'Shiv'as Yemei ha'Milu'im' (which by the way, also means the seven days of consecration).

Like the Rosh, Rashi translates the words "filling the hands" literally, only he understands them in a metaphorical sense, as we just explained. And when he cites the gentile custom of giving a new appointee a glove to 'fill his hand' (a source to which the Ramban vehemently objects), it appears that they simply borrowed the term from the Torah, and translated it into physical terms. But the real meaning of the phrase, as we explained, is metaphorical.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 5:
Shechting the Korban Pesach

It is a Mitzvah to Shecht, on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nisan, a Korban Pesach, comprising an unblemished lamb or kid-goat in its first year, in the Azarah (Courtyard) of the Beis-Hamikdash - as the Torah writes in Bo (12:6) "and the entire community of Yisrael shall Shecht it in the afternoon".

The men of Yisrael gather in groups and either purchase from the market or take from their own flock, a male kid or lamb without blemish, in its first year, which they proceed to Shecht in the Azarah on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nisan. Later that evening, the members of that group will eat it after their meal, since it is a Mitzvah to eat it in a state of satisfaction (as a form of dessert).

A reason for the Mitzvah is in order to remember the outstanding miracles that G-d performed on their behalf when they left Egypt.

The Dinim of the Mizvah ... incorporating the time of day when it must be Shechted, that it is Shechted in three separate groups in the Azarah of the Beis-Hamikdash, that the Shechitah overrides Shabbos, that only someone who is designated may partake of it, that one reads Hallel when it is brought and that the trumpets are blown then too, together with the other details that pertain to it, are explained in Pesachim and in the Rambam, Hilchos Korban Pesach, chap. 8.

The Mitzvah applies to men and women alike, at the time when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing. Someone who transgresses and fails to bring the Korban Pesach be'meizid (deliberately), is Chayav Kareis (excision); be'shogeg (erroneously), however, he does not bring a Korban Chatas. In fact, this is one of the only three Mitzvos for which one is Chayav Kareis be'meizid, but does not bring a Chatas, be'shogeg. The other two are B'ris Milah and Megadef (someone who curses Hashem).


Mitzvah 6:
To Eat the Korban Pesach

It is a Mitzvah to eat the meat of the Pesach on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan according to the conditions specified by the Torah, as the Torah writes in Bo (ibid. Pasuk 8) "And they shall eat the meat on this night".

The reason that we ascribed to the previous Mitzvah applies equally here.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah ... how much each person is obligated to eat and how the designees must conduct themselves until they have eaten it (e.g. not to leave the group or change their location) and the other details pertaining to it, are explained in Pesachim and in the Rambam (Hilchos Korban Pesach, chapter 1).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike. Whoever transgresses it has nullified a Mitzvas Asei, and based on a rule that applies throughout the Torah, if someone declares that he does not intend to perform a Mitzvas Asei, Beis-Din will force him to do so (assuming that they are empowered to), until he agrees to carry it out.


Mitzvah 7:
Not to Eat the Pesach Half Done or Fully Cooked

Not to eat the meat of the Pesach cooked or half-roasted, but roasted on the fire, as the Torah writes in Bo (Pasuk 9) "Do not eat from it half done or cooked in water, only roasted on the fire". Half-done ("no") means that it is partially roasted up to the stage where it is normally eaten. This does not incorporate eating the lamb raw, which is not subject to Malkos, even though one does transgress the Asei of not eating it roasted. The prohibition of eating it cooked incorporates cooked in other liquids or in any kind of fruit-juice, since the double expression "u'vasheil mevushal" includes them all. The reason that we gave with regard to Shechting the Pesach, applies here too. And the Torah insists on eating it roasted, because that is the way that princes eat their food, since roasting one's meat brings out the best taste from it. The rest of the people can only afford to eat the little meat that they have cooked (since meat tends to contract when it is roasted). On the other hand, it is befitting for us, who eat the Pesach in memory of our exodus to freedom when we became a "kingdom of Kohanim and a holy nation", to eat it in a manner that is reminiscent of freedom and rulership. But roasting one's meat is sometimes an indication of a lack of time, and it is in this capacity that the eating the Korban Pesach reminds us how Yisrael had to leave Egypt "be'chipozon" (in a hurry)".

The Dinim of the Mitzvah ... if one ate the Korban Pesach pot-roasted, or if one anointed it with fruit-juice with water or with Terumah oil, together with its remaining details are explained in Pesachim and in the Rambam, Hilchos Pesachim chapter 8.

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike, at the time when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing. Someone who eats the Pesach half-done or cooked (or even both, according to the Rambam) receives one set of Malkos (two, according to the Ramban).

Vol. 11   No. 25

This issue is sponsored by
Shaina and Shmuel Buchwald n.y.
in loving memory of their mothers
Perel Bluma bas Chayim Moshe z.l.
¯whose 8th Yohrzeit was on the 29th Adar
F'reidel bas Aharon ha'Kohen z.l.
whose 11th Yohrzeit will be on the 16th Nisan


The Blessing of Dew (Adapted from the Torah Temimah)

The first day of Pesach is the day on which we Daven for dew (which never ceases to fall each morning), to freshen the world, and to sweeten the fruit.

Targum Yonasan relates how, on the fourteenth of Nisan, before sending Eisav to the forest to hunt deer in preparation for his B'rachah, Yitzchak told him how that night, the Angels would praise Hashem (and plead with Him to open the storehouse of dew), and that the storehouse of dew would subsequently be opened. As a result, it was the ideal time to bless him, since dew is synonymous with blessing, as the commentary on Targum Yonasan explains.


Interestingly, it was also Yitzchak's birthday, infusing him with special powers of B'rachah. Indeed, Chazal explain that although the Mishkan was completed in the month of Kislev, G-d deliberately postponed putting it up until the month of Nisan, because that was the month in which Yitzchak (the pillar of Avodah) was born. Yitzchak himself may have played down his own role in the B'rachah, but it is surely no coincidence that the day he chose to bless his firstborn son 'happened to be' his birthday.


Following Yitzchak's statement to Eisav, it is hardly surprising that dew played a major role in the B'rachah with which he blessed Ya'akov and subsequently, the one with which he blessed Eisav. Indeed, the opening words of the B'rachah he bestowed upon Ya'akov were "May G-d grant you from the dew of the Heaven and from the fat of the earth." The Ramban, citing the Ibn Ezra, observes that Yitzchak attributed the B'rachah that he extended to Ya'akov to the Divine source ("May G-d give you ... "), but not the B'rachah with which he blessed Eisav ("Behold from the fat of the earth will be your dwelling ... "), which explains why the B'rachah he gave Ya'akov was permanent (since G-d's blessing is permanent), whereas the B'rachah he gave Eisav would last only as long as he dwelt in his land.

Perhaps it also explains why when he blessed Ya'akov, he first mentioned the dew of the Heaven and then the fat of the land, since G-d's blessing begins in Heaven and moves downwards, as we see throughout the Creation, whereas when he blessed Eisav, he reversed the order.

The Ramban also comments that dew always falls day in, day out, in which case Yitzchak did not appear to be giving Ya'akov anything, unless he meant to say that it would fall in abundance or in its right time (early in the morning, as Chazal explain in connection with the Mon).

Furthermore, he says, an additional aspect of dew is the fact that G-d will use it to revive the dead when the time arrives ('Tal shel Techiyah', as Chazal describe it) - dew, note, and not rain. Note also that the word 'Tal' in reverse reads 'Lat', which means curse, another indication that dew has the power to reverse a curse and turn it into a blessing. A further proof of the permanent nature of dew's inherent blessing is the fact that in the Amidah, we mention dew all the year round (according to Minhag Eretz Yisrael), together with rain in the winter (in the B'rachah of Birchas ha'Shanim), and in the B'rachah of Mechayeh ha'Meisim in the summer). In fact, so potent is the prayer for (or even the mere mention of) dew, that someone who omitted 'Mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'gashem', does not need to repeat the Amidah, as long as he said 'Morid ha'tal'.


The significance of beginning to recite 'Morid ha'Tal' on the first day of Pesach is evident from our opening paragraph. In addition, the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim (citing the Avudraham) explains, it is a good sign for the rest of the year. The reason that we begin in the day and not in the night (which is when the celestial storehouses of dew are opened, as Yitzchak explained to Eisav) he says, is because there are people are not in Shul for Ma'ariv because they are still busy preparing for the Seder, and who, as a result, will not begin saying 'Morid ha'Tal' until the morning. Consequently, the Chachamim instituted saying it in the morning, so that everyone should begin reciting it at the same time.

And we begin at Musaf and not at Shachris, he adds, so that people should not assume that we already began reciting it at Ma'ariv, and take their cue from there to do so the following year.

* * *

Pesach Pearls

Thoughts For the Seder
(Adapted from the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)

The reason for the three Matzos at the Seder is as a reminder of the three Sa'ah of flour that Avraham instructed Sarah to prepare, to serve their guests. That episode after all, did take place on Pesach. According to others, it is to remind us of our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov.

The breaking of the middle Matzah is to commemorate the splitting of both the Yam-Suf, which took place on the seventh day of Pesach, and the River Yarden, which took place forty years after they left Egypt, just before Pesach.

We recite the B'rachah of 'al achilas Matzah' (over the broken Matzah), because 'it is the way of a poor man to eat broken pieces of bread', since, among the other symbolisms that we perform at the Seder, the Matzah reminds us of the transition from an era of poverty under the jurisdiction of Paroh, to one of wealth under that of Hashem.

The two dippings-in that we perform during the Seder (the Karpas in the salt-water and the Maror in the Charoses), are reminiscent of the two Tevilos that were necessary before one could eat the Korban Pesach, namely, the Tevilah of a "yelid bayis" and that of a "miknas kesef" (a slave who was born to a shifchah, and one whom one had purchased). Alternatively, they remind us of the two sprinklings of blood in Egypt (when they sprinkled the blood of the Korban Pesach on the two door-posts and on the lintel), or of the two bloods (that of the Korban Pesach and that of B'ris Milah which Yisrael performed in Egypt prior to bringing the Korban Pesach).

The Gemara in Arvei Pesachim explains that the purpose of the first dipping-in is to arouse the children's curiosity, to make them ask, why it is that whereas one usually eats vegetables after the meal, on this night, we are eating them before the meal - a fine introduction to the 'Mah Nishtanah'. And another incentive for them to ask lies in the second cup of wine, which one already pours into the cup at that stage, even though one has not yet eaten, whereas it is customary to drink one's second cup only after having eaten.

The Charoses is meant to serve as a reminder of the cement, and one adds apples, to remind us of the apple-trees in Egypt, under which the righteous women enticed their tormented husbands, and under which their babies were subsequently born. The various spices (such as cinnamon) that one adds to the Charoses are reminiscent of the straw, which together with the cement, comprised a major element of the slavery in Egypt. And by the same token, the nuts and almonds that go into the Charoses, like the Charoses itself, remind us of the colour of cement that is made out of lime, which is white.

The two cooked dishes correspond to Moshe and Aharon (the two leaders of Yisrael). According to others (who maintain that the two dishes comprise fish and eggs) they correspond to the Livyasan and to the glory of the Shechinah, respectively. Whereas the Gemara in Arvei Pesachim explains that the one dish corresponds to the Pesach, the other, to the Chagigah.


And finally, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T., the four cups of wine correspond to the four expressions of redemption used by the Pasuk in Va'eira (6:6/7) "ve'Hotzeisi, ve'Hitzalti ... ", and the fifth cup (according to those who hold that one is obliged to drink it) to "ve'Heveisi eschem el ha'Aretz", which is part of the redemption, as the old saying goes 'If someone sets free his slave and even hands him everything that he owns, unless he provides him with a place to reside, what has he given him'?

Alternatively, the four cups correspond to the four expressions of salvation in T'nach in which the word 'cup' is used - "Hashem is the portion of my cup" (Tehilim 16:5); "My cup is satiated" (ibid. 23:5); and "I will raise the cup of salvation" (ibid. 116:13), incorporating two cups, since the word salvation ("yeshu'os") is written in the plural, one referring to the era of Mashi'ach, the other, to Olam ha'Ba.

Yet a third explanation connects the four cups to the four cups that the chief butler mentioned when relating his dream to Yosef (bearing in mind that the dream referred to the redemption of Yisrael from Egypt, as Targum Yonasan explains). And finally, the four cups pertain to the four bitter cups of punishment which G-d is going to give the nations of the world to drink, as the Pesukim in Tehilim and Yirmiyah indicate. May this come to pass soon.


The Three Stages

The redemption from Egypt took place in three stages. First Yisrael left Egypt, then they experienced a transition period which culminated in the splitting of the Reed Sea, where they were rid of the Egyptians once and for all, and finally, G-d brought them close to Him, culminating with the entry into Eretz Yisrael.

These three stages will explain the subdivision of 'Dayeinu' into these three groupings, each consisting of five items. Perhaps these three stages, which progressed spiritually, correspond to the three parts of the Soul - Nefesh, Ru'ach and Neshamah ...


The Four Stages

A similar sub-division explains the twenty-six Pesukim of Hallel ha'Gadol (the twenty-six 'Ki le'olam chasdos' that we say every Shabbos morning, and that also appears in the Hagadah, based on the four letters of Hashem's Holy Name that some Sidurim insert there - a 'Yud' after the tenth Pasuk ("le'Makeh Mitzrayim bi'Vechoreihem ... "), a 'Hey' after the fifteenth ("ve'Ni'er Par'oh ve'cheilo be'Yam-Suf"), a 'Vav' after the twenty-first Pasuk ("ve'Nosan Artzam le'Nachaloh ... "), and another 'Hey' after the last Pasuk ("Hodu le'Keil Hashomoyim ...").

Here too, we can explain this sub-division in the following way. The first ten Pesukim speak about the creation, the next five, about Yisrael's Exodus from Egypt (including K'riy'as Yam-Suf), the following six, about their conquests in the Desert, whilst the last five are general praises of Hashem, who did all this on our behalf.

It is also easy to understand why, based on Kabbalistic sources, each particular letter of G-d's Name was appropriate for the task to which it was allotted. The Exodus was, in effect, synonymous with the creation of Yisrael, and the 'Yud' is the letter of creation. The first 'Hey' represents G-d's strong Midas ha'Din, and that is why G-d used it to punish the Egyptians. The 'Vav' is the letter of life, so G-d designated it to sustain Yisrael in the desert. And the second 'Hey' represents Midas Malchus, and we therefore sing the King's praises.


Moshe's Name in the Hagadah

It is said that Moshe's name does not appear in the Hagadah. The reason for this is because the whole purpose of the Hagadah is to stress G-d's oneness. The Seder after all, is an object-lesson that is meant to reinforce the concept that G-d alone took us out of Egypt. This concept appears over and over again during the course of the Hagadah, particularly when the Ba'al Hagadah stresses 'I, and not a Malach, I, and not a Saraf ... '. And he says it so eloquently during the songs that we sing at the end of the Hagadah, where as the Seder reaches its climax, after recounting the powerful miracles that G-d wrought on this night, we declare first that He, and He alone, is worthy of praise, then that He is mighty ... unique and great ... . Until finally, we announce that 'One is our G-d in Heaven and on earth', and conclude that G-d is the ultimate judge, who will slaughter the Angel of Death ... until even the little kid will be avenged.

Yet strictly speaking, our opening comment is not quite correct. Moshe's name does appear in the Hagadah, just once, immediately after 'D'tzach, Adash, Be'achav'. There, we cite Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, who, to prove that at the Yam-Suf, the Egyptians were smitten with G-d's Hand, cites the Pasuk "And Yisrael saw the great Hand with which Hashem acted against Egypt, and the people feared G-d, and they believed in Him and in Moshe His servant".

However, this in no way clashes with the idea that we have been discussing. After all, we are not speaking here of anything that Moshe did. Quite the contrary, the episode to which we are referring was performed by G-d and by G-d alone, as is evident from the beginning of the current Pasuk ("and the people saw the great Hand ... "). And what's more, Moshe himself informed the people there that G-d would fight for them and instructed them to stand still and watch. This was G-d's battle, and it called for no human participation. They believed in Moshe too, not for what he had done now, for he had just told them to desist and to watch. And they believed in him because he was an Eved Hashem, who nullified himself to G-d totally (for that is the definition of an 'Eved').


Thoughts for the Seventh Day

If He had Just Given us Their Money

'If He had given us their money and not split the Sea for us, it would have sufficed'.

The Hagadah 'Birchas ha'Shir'

connects this with the argument of Uza, the Angel of Egypt, who claimed that Yisrael had already taken the Egyptians' money before they left (as the Torah testifies "and they emptied Egypt"). So why, he asked, was it necessary to punish the Egyptians further?

The truth of the matter was that the main booty of Egypt was what they took at the Yam-Suf (as Chazal have taught). What they took out of Egypt was never meant to compensate them for their work, but rather to lure the Egyptians down to the Yam-Suf. That being the case, Uza's argument was futile. Nevertheless, we say, if G-d had just given us the Egyptians' money and taken us out of Egypt, we would have had plenty to be grateful for (even if He had left the Egyptians in Egypt, and not split the Sea and drowned them, and given us the bulk of the booty).

Or perhaps it means if He had led the Egyptians down to the Yam-Suf and treated us to the vast treasure that we took from them at the Yam-Suf in the form of war spoils, without actually splitting the Sea and taking us across.


If He had Just Split the Yam-Suf …

'If He had split the Yam-Suf for us, and not taken us across on dry land, it would have sufficed. If He had taken us across on dry land and had not drowned our adversaries in it, it would have sufficed'.

The implication here is that G-d split the Yam-Suf for our benefit, whilst drowning the Egyptians in the returning water was only of secondary importance (as we explained in the Main Pesach Article, vol. 9).

This also explains why by the plague of blood, what turned into blood for the Egyptians remained water for Yisrael; whereas by K'riy'as Yam-Suf, the sea remained water for the Egyptians, and became dry land for Yisrael. Regarding the former, the miracle was primarily to punish the Egyptians, so it was for them that G-d changed the blood into water, whilst regarding the latter, it was first and foremost, to save Yisrael, so it was for them that He transformed the Sea into dry land.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 8:
Not to Leave Over from the Korban Pesach

Not to leave over any meat from the Korban Pesach until the next day, the fifteenth of Nisan, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:10) "And do not leave over any of it until the morning".

The reason that we wrote regarding the Mitzvah of Shechting the Pesach (to remember the miracles of Egypt), applies here too. And the reason for the prohibition of not leaving any over, is because we are like kings and princes, who do not need to leave food for the next day, because they know that there will always be fresh food tomorrow (as we wrote in the previous Mitzvah). That is why the Torah obligates us to burn any leftovers, like something for which we have no use, like human kings tend to do. And all this is to remind us and to impress upon us that at that time, G-d redeemed us and we became free men and merited kingship and greatness.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah are to be found in the Rambam, Hilchos Korban Pesach (chapter 9).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike. Someone who contravenes and leaves over some of the Korban Pesach has transgressed a Lo Sa'aseh, though he will not receive Malkos, because it is a La'av ha'Nitak la'Asei (a La'av that is connected to an Asei), as the Torah writes there "and whoever leaves over from it until the morning shall burn it in fire", and a La'av ha'Nitak la'Asei is not subject to Malkos.


Mitzvah 9:
The Mitzvah to Destroy One's Chametz

It is a Mitzvah to remove all Chametz loaves from our dwellings on the fourteenth of Nisan, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:15) "But on the first day you shall destroy yeast from your houses". Chazal interpret 'the first day' in this context to mean 'the day before'.

The reason for the Mitzvah, as we have already written, is in order to remember the miracles of Egypt.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah, such as at what time during the day to destroy the Chametz, and in what way to destroy it, where one needs to search for it and where not, when the Mitzvah falls due with regard to someone who travels before Pesach, what to do should the fourteenth of Nisan fall on Friday, and the verbal nullification that one needs to make besides the actual destruction, together with other details, are explained in Shulchan Aruc( Si'man 431-440).

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times, to men and women alike. Someone who contravenes it and fails to destroy his Chametz, has nullified the Mitzvas Asei of 'Tashbisu'. If, in addition, he actually has Chametz in his possession, he also transgresses the Lo Sa'aseh of "yeast shall not be found in your houses" (12:19, as well as that of "Chametz shall not be seen in your houses" [13:7]). However, he will not receive Malkos for transgressing this La'av, unless he performs a positive act (such as bringing Chametz into the house), since there is no Malkos for a La'av where no act is performed.


Mitzvah 10:
The Mitzvah to Eat Matzah

It is a Mitzvah to eat on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, Matzah that is made of one of the five kinds of grain (wheat, barley ...) as the Torah writes in Bo (12:18) "In the evening you shall eat Matzos". This refers to the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, whether there is a Korban Pesach or not.

The reason for the Mitzvah is the same as the reason that we wrote in connection with the Korban Pesach.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah, such as the Din of guarding the Matzos (from becoming Chametz), kneading the dough, which water to use for the kneading and the minimum amount that one needs to eat, together with all the other details of the Mitzvah are explained in Orach Chayim (Si'man 453 until Si'man 467).

This Mitzvah applies everywhere at all times, to men and women alike, and anyone who contravenes it, has negated an Asei, and as we have already explained, Beis-Din have the authority to force a person to perform a Mitzvas Asei.


Mitzvah 11:
That Chametz Should Not Be Found in Our Possession on Pesach

That Chametz should not be found in our possession throughout the days of Pesach, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:19) "For seven days yeast shall not be found in your houses". The Chachamim explain that neither "your houses" nor "yeast" is exclusive, but that all one's possession and all types of leaven are included.

The reason that we wrote with regard to the Mitzvah of the Korban Pesach applies equally here, to remind us of the miracles that we witnessed at the time of the exodus from Egypt, and how, as a result of the haste in which we left, we baked the dough as Matzah, because we were unable to wait until it rose.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah, such as Chametz that one has deposited with others, or vice-versa, Chametz belonging to Hekdesh that one has in one's possession, or that of a gentile - with liability or without, the Din of a tough gentile who deposited Chametz with a Jew, whether one transgresses for possessing a mixture containing Chametz and Chametz that turned bad, together with the rest of the Dinim, are explained in Orach Chayim (Si'man 440 - 442).

This Mitzvah applies both to men and women alike, everywhere and at all times. Someone who contravenes it and allows Chametz to be found in his possession be'Meizid, transgresses two La'avin, Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. He is due to receive Malkos, but only if he performed an act (e.g. he made a Chametz dough and left it in his house, or bought bread and took it to his house). Someone who failed to destroy Chametz that is already in his possession is not subject to receive Malkos (even though he has transgressed two La'avin).

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