March 27, 1999 10 Nisan 5759
(Shalom Yosef ben Farhah) by his students.
Please pray that Hashem should send him a speedy refu'ah shelemah.
by Rabbi Reuven Semah
"We are obligated to relate the story of the Exodus from Egypt" (Hagaddah)
The Seder night is the highlight of the Pesah holiday. It may be said that in terms of information and experience, this night is the highlight of the entire year. It's the time we tell our children, and all the people that are there, why we are Jewish, and why we observe the misvot of the Torah. Sometimes there might be people there that are listening, that won't be listening again for a whole year, or maybe never again. Therefore, it is important to explain the true meaning of our observance.
The key information is found in the paragraph of "abadim hayinu - we were slaves," right after the Four Questions. Rabbi Yisrael Miller explains: We were slaves in Egypt. We are committed to Torah because of gratitude to Hashem. He saved us; it's the least we can do to say thanks. We continue, even if we are all wise we must relate the story of the Exodus. But if we are all wise, that means we know it already. Why relate it again? Well, it's like the fellow who insists that he loves his wife, but he just never talks to her. Any relationship that is real must be lived and expressed in words. Even if a year ago you told your wife and children how much you love them, this year you must say it again, and hopefully more than once a year.
Finally, the more one tells about the story of the Exodus, that person is to be praised. But isn't this obvious? After all, the more words of Torah, the better. The lesson is found by Rabbi Eliezer, who stayed up all night to tell the story, even though he held that the misvah is only until midnight. He did more than the obligation. A relationship in which each partner does only what he is obligated to do is not a relationship. If a married couple comes to a Rabbi to ask, "What is the minimum we are required to do for each other according to the halachah?" it means that marriage is already on the verge of breaking up. We teach our kids and ourselves at the Seder to do more than obligated. That is why when a guest leaves your home it's a misvah to accompany him, at least a few steps. It shows you are not in a hurry to be rid of him. Let's take our time for the Seder; don't push it out the door! Let's tell over these fundamentals to those we love. Happy holiday.
by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"He shall remove the ashes" (Vayikra 6:3)
One of the parts of the Holy Service, which was done in the Bet Hamikdash, was the removal of the ashes from the altar. We can well imagine that with all the sacrifices which took place each day there were plenty of ashes to be removed. This might seem like a very demeaning job, especially for a Kohen who was involved in all the holy aspects of the Divine service. The Rabbis tell us that indeed, this had a humbling effect on the Kohen. Lest he think of himself too highly because of his position, Hashem wanted him to do something not very glamorous, so that he would not become conceited.
We too, have many opportunities to do things which humble us. We may take out garbage, pick up papers off the ground, hang up coats that fall off hangers, etc. Besides the hesed involved in helping other people, we should also utilize these opportunities which help put us in our place. That way we will remember to stay humble and modest before Hashem. Shabbat Shalom.
"Command Aharon and his sons saying, 'This is the law of the burnt-offering" (Vayikra 6:2)
Rashi writes that the term "sav" denotes encouragement for the present and for future generations, and Rabbi Shimon says it is especially necessary to encourage in the places where there is a hisron kis - loss of money. What monetary loss does the pasuk refer to?
From any korban shelamim - peace offering that was brought in the Sanctuary, the Kohanim serving that week would receive the breast and thigh. The korban olah, however was burned entirely on the Altar, and the Kohanim thus gained nothing from them (except for the hide, which went to the officiating Kohanim).
Thus, the Kohanim, being mortals, may have had very little interest in bringing up the burnt-offerings and would instead encourage people to bring peace-offerings. The Torah therefore finds it necessary to particularly emphasize to the Kohanim to bring up the burnt-offerings. (Vedibarta Bam)
"At the place where you slaughter the burnt-offering, you shall slaughter the sin-offering" (Vayikra 6:18)
The Talmud Yerushalmi states that the reason the burnt-offerings and the sin-offerings were slaughtered at the same place was in order to save those who sinned from embarrassment. When other people saw the animals of the ones who sinned being slaughtered, they would not know that it was a sin-offering.
From here we see the principle of not causing others shame or discomfort when they have done something improper in the past and now regret it. Never remind anyone of past misdeeds. Always do whatever you can to protect people from embarrassment. (Growth through Torah)
"The wise son, what does he say? What are the testimonies, decrees and ordinances...?"
What exactly is the wise son's question? According to the Sefer Panim Yafot, he is asking the following: "Based on the testimonies, decrees and laws that Hashem commanded us, it would make more sense for us to eat from the korban Pesah (represented by the afikoman) before we eat matzah.
Why are we eating the matzah first?" He supports his question with the following points:
According to the testimonies: The korban Pesah represents the "passing over" of our homes in Egypt during the tenth plague. Matzah is a reminder of the way we left Egypt quickly with no time to bake bread. Since the tenth plague was before we left Egypt, we should eat the korban Pesah first.
According to the decrees: We were commanded to take a lamb for korban Pesah on the tenth of Nissan while we were commanded to eat matzah on the fifteenth.
According to the laws: The laws of sacrifices give precedence to animal sacrifices over meal offerings. Therefore, it would make more sense for the matzah to be eaten after the korban Pesah.
To all of these "proofs" we answer, "We may not eat anything after the korban Pesah." Even though you have valid points, we are not able to eat the matzah after the korban Pesah, because the taste of the korban must be the last thing we taste tonight. (Haggadah Gedolei Yisrael)
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