Parshas Tzav/Shabbos Hagadol
We have been so busy shopping, cleaning and (lets not forget an essential component of this whole process) agonizing that we actually forgot about our three year-old daughter Saras Pesach program at school! Criminal, Id say...and Im not using the term lightly. Where were you, Abbah? she asked so earnestly. She wouldnt have understood if I told her I was in bathing suit and a t-shirt at the mikveh, toiveling boxes and boxes of new Pesach cultery and kitchenware. Well, at least I know I have something to do teshuvah on next Yom Kippur. (I was worried that I might have no aveiras, so I really should be grateful....)
Wait, what was it that I had to remember? Right...check the number of kiddush cups we have. Dont forget to look for chametz in my old briefcase.
Maybe this is the only realistic parsha sheet one can write the week before Pesach. The only kind that makes you feel the chipazon--the great haste--with which we left Mitzrayim, too quickly to allow the dough to rise. Life imitating art...or, rather, Torah. And, on a similar note, the only way we Western Jews can imagine the avdus (slavery) and exhausting toil of Egypt is during these days of preparation for Pesach. (Then when Seder night actually arives--redemption!)
What was I thinking...oh, right, do toothpicks have to be kosher for Pesach? Remember to check Rabbi Blumenkrantzs book.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Rabby Chaim Friedlander, ztl, in a beautiful essay (Sifsei Chaim: II, 355-363) about the mitzvah of telling the story of the Exodus, explains that the goal is not just to recount our history; its to feel as if we personally experienced the Redemption. The Haggadah itself says as much: In every generation, one is obligated to regard himself as though he had actually gone out from Egypt...
The many props of the Seder--matzoh, maror, Seder
plate, four cups of wine etc.-- and stage directions (dip, lean, etc.) are meant to make
concrete for us the concepts...better, the experience of slavery and freedom. And
the inevitable result of a deeply felt personal redemption? Hallel, songs of
thanks and praise to Hashem. (Not preceded by a brachah, he points out, quoting the
Ran, since it is meant to be an exalted and almost spontaneous song of praise--shirah--and
not a mere public reading, as in the prayer service.)
Meanwhile, Id better get back to the kitchen. Wait, what was it I had to remember? Make arrangements to sell my chametz. Clean the mini-van. Im reminded of a famous Lennon-McCartney lyric: Help!
Im sorry it was so rushed this week, but I do wish you a meaningful Seder, and a wonderful holiday. And as Ill keep telling myself for the next few days, redemption is just around the corner.
GOOD SHABBOS AND GOOD YOM TOV!!!
Edelstein is Director
of the Savannah Torah Education Project (STEP). Phone: 912-355-0157;
Please be in touch
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