Getting ready for Passover/Pesach 2015/5775
In less that two weeks will be the holiday of Pesach (Passover) “just trying to wake you up or scare you lol”, celebrating the Exodus from Egypt. Please see below all the laws (in comments) that you need to know in order to Prepare Your House for Pesach 5775 (Based on the Halachic Rulings of Rabbi Shlomo Gissinger Shlita, Rav in Lakewood NJ) and please be kind and donate. This is a time of giving money for the poor so they can buy wheat for Matzos etc… (continued below and email firstname.lastname@example.org to help us now midnightrabbi.com) This is the first law to learn and the most important on Pesach/Passover as we are a nation based and built on KINDNESS>>>!
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Jews in Egypt were not only enslaved physically but also spiritually. At that time, they were at their lowest spiritual level.
Their physical liberation from Egypt also freed them from their spiritual limitations. As a result, the Jewish people were able to attain great spiritual heights through the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
At the Seder, we re-experience the Exodus. We must realize that G-d enables each of us to free ourselves of our spiritual limitations which constrict and limit our connection to G-d.
In truth, the mitzvah to remember the Exodus applies every day, morning and night, which is why we mention the Exodus in the daily prayers. Yet, there is more emphasis on remembering it on Passover, especially at the Seder.
Why is remembering the Exodus at the seder, on the anniversary of the Exodus, more meaningful than remembering it during the rest of the year?
Here is a parable from the Magid of Dubna, which answers this question: A king traveled with his entourage to visit his subjects. As they were passing through a forest, one of the riders became very thirsty and fainted. No one had any water so the king sent one of the soldiers to the river, a few miles away.
In the meantime, the person’s condition became very grave. The king ordered his men to immediately start digging for water. Everyone began digging furiously and before long they hit fresh water and revived him. A while later the soldier returned with fresh water from the river.
A few days later a wayfarer traveled through the forest and passed the same place. The sun was hot and he too became very thirsty and was in great need of water.
Now, if someone would tell him that a few miles further there is a river with fresh water, it may not help him much. Who knows if he could reach the river before he would faint. However, the well that was dug on this spot will surely help him. All he had to do is bend down and reach for the drink.
During the rest of the year, we are like the one who must walk down the road to the river to get water. On other days of the year, we too, must make a greater effort to benefit spiritually from the Exodus. But on Passover, the time when the Exodus took place, we are like the man who is standing at the very spot where the well was dug. G-d grants us special powers and our spiritual liberation is at our fingertips, we just have to reach for it. Moshiach NOW!!!
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Pesach- The Festival Of Freedom from Rabbi Shlomo Price!
Last year on 25 Adar I spoke at the Yeshivah in memory of my Mother-in-Law’s Yahrzeit-Tzivia bas Moishe, and yibodel Lchaim Tovim in honor of my wife’s birthday.
This is a small synopsis of a much bigger sicha called, “Pesach -All Year Round,” which you can see by clicking on http://www.neveh.org/price/pricpsch.html
Pesach is one of the most misunderstood holidays as far as the spirit of the holiday. We call it “Zman Cheiruseinu-Festival of Our Freedom,” and yet we don’t realize what “freedom” and “slavery” really mean.
People quote the verse “Shalach es Ami –Let My People Go…(Sh’mos 7:16) as if the main “freedom,” of Pesach is a physical freedom-let my people go so they can have no more master and do whatever they want.
But the truth is that the physical freedom was only a prerequisite to the main spiritual freedom of getting the Torah on Har Sinai (and we will soon explain how this is freedom) 49 days later. They counted the days-Sefiras Haomer- in anticipation of this great event.
This is what it says at the end of the previous verse-“Veyavaduni-so they may serve Me.”
This can also help us answer a question that is asked about Pesach. The author of “The Hagadah Treasury” questions; How was it possible to celebrate Pesach as a time of Freedom, during the Holocaust? What kind of Freedom was this? The same can be asked about the Crusades, the Inquisition, and about any time that the Jews were persecuted.
He answers with a Moshol- Parable.
“A poor fellow buys a lottery ticket and wins a lot of money. He uses the money for good things and hires a Rebbe to teach him Torah, soon becoming a Talmid Chochom himself. Every year on the anniversary of the day that he won the lottery he makes a special party, and thanks Hashem for all that He gave him. One year unfortunately he lost all of his money and found himself once again a pauper. He nevertheless still made a big party like he made every year, but not as lavish. This seemed absurd. “Why celebrate winning the money, when none of it remained”, he was asked. He answered, “The main thing I gained was not the money, but rather the wisdom of Torah that I gained through the money. I still have that wisdom.”
Likewise, Pesach commemorates our spiritual accomplishments which resulted from yetzias Mitzrayim, not just physical freedom. The Torah, which we received upon our exodus from Mitzrayim, is still with us, despite all the persecutions. Nobody can take it away from us. This is the main celebration of Pesach, and it can be celebrated even during the darkest periods of our history. They can take away the Jewish body but not the Jewish Spirit. There’s a whole book called, “The Unconquerable Spirit,” which describes how even in the Holocaust the Jews risked their lives to keep the Torah.
We may ask if we have to serve Hashem, then what kind of freedom is this? Till now we were slaves to Pharoh and now to Hashem, we just changed masters?
To answer this, I will first quote a Mishna in Avos (6:2);
“. . . For you can have no freer man then one who engages in the study of Torah. . .” The Tiferes Yisroel so eloquently explains,
“. . . And this is the [real] Freedom that his soul is not enslaved to the bodily desires [as a result of his learning Torah], only this is the true freedom and not when his desires are liberated and his soul is enslaved to the desires.”
Consider the following example that I saw in “Passover Survival Kit”, by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf (Leviathan Press).
A young prodigy enters the prestigious Juliard School of Music. Her teachers give her a strict schedule of practicing many hours a day. They also warn and forbid her against certain things that may weaken her talents. The young girl follows her teachers’ instructions and in a matter of years becomes an accomplished musician.
Was she FREE?? Being under such a rigorous regimen, can that be FREEDOM?
The answer is , OF COURSE!!
If a dictator (like Pharoh or our Yetzer Haro-evil inclination) puts you under his strict rules for HIS BENEFIT ONLY, not for yours, this is slavery. The slave learns to despise his master, and wants to escape his slavery. But he cannot shake off the shackles that his master has chained him with.
But when a beneficial teacher (like Hashem and His Torah, our Yetzer Tov-good inclination-or L’Havdil the Juliard Music Teacher) wants to help you bring out your talents and potential FOR YOUR BENEFIT ONLY, then it is a lot different. The student realizes the only way to accomplish his perfection is with this strict regimen of doing what may seem hard and staying away from certain things that he desires. The student learns to love his teacher who is helping him manifest his true potential.
Imagine how a boxer, who is training for a championship bout, feels towards his trainer. The trainer keeps working him hard for many hours. He even warns him to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and certain foods. Then comes the clincher. The trainer gives him a whole sicha that he has to learn how to focus and concentrate only on his boxing. He can’t let any other deterrents enter his mind as they would ruin his chances of success. Yes, that means stay away from the opposite sex!
If the boxer has any brains in his head (if they weren’t knocked out of his head in his previous fights), he will love and respect his trainer. He will see the sagacity of his wise words. He certainly wouldn’t call it slavery. On the contrary, he will realize that he is a master over his desires and not a slave to them.
There is a saying,”Freedom is not the ability to do what you want, rather the ability to do what you ought”.
Consider the difference between the “freedom” of Rav Moshe Feinstien, z’tl, and l’havdil Sir Winston Churchill.
Everyone knows that Churchill was a genius. He always knew how to give a sharp retort, even when he was drunk.
I once read that he was once at a party and had imbibed a bit too much. A woman reprimanded him and said, “Sir Winston, you’re drunk!” He immediately responded, without missing a beat, “I know, and you’re ugly, but tomorrow I’ll be sober”.[He pointed out that his problem was temporary, while her problem was permanent]
On another occasion, he was told by a woman, “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea!”
He immediately responded, “And if you were my wife, I’d drink it!”
Despite his ingenuity, he had a terrible temper. Whenever someone did something that wasn’t to his liking he would go into a tirade.
I read, in his biography, that once his butler had irked him so, that he even started to hit the butler. When the butler hit Sir Winston back, he was appalled.
“How dare you hit me!”, Sir Winston exclaimed.
“Well, you hit me first”, replied the butler.
“Yes, but I am a great man”.
The author concluded that everyone knew as well as the butler, that Churchill was right.
When I read this I was sickened. This is the freedom and privilege of the great “Gedolim” of the Goyim. He can hit and scream at anybody not as great as he, and doesn’t have to control himself.
Now listen to the freedom of Lehavdil, Rav Moshe Feinstien z”tl.
(This amazing story is found in “Love Your Neighbor,” by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin and in “Bastions of Faith” by Rabbi Avraham Fishelis.)
Rav Moshe was getting a ride from one of his talmidim to the yeshivah. When the talmid closed the door of the car he accidentally closed it on Rav Moshe’s finger. Much to the surprise of the other talmidim present, Rav Moshe did not utter a word during the ten minute ride. Only after he arrived at the yeshivah and with the driver long gone, did Rav Moshe rush to sink to wash his fingers. The talmidim asked him why he didn’t say anything to the driver as soon as it happened?
Rav Moshe responded, “He was nice enough to do me a favor and drive me, how could I embarrass him”?!
Many years ago in America, I once personally witnessed the other type of “freedom” where one is so “free” that he becomes addicted to it. He can’t stop even when he wants to.
A certain fellow who strayed off the Torah path wanted to return. My Rebbi, who knew the fellow from long ago, invited him to our yeshivah for Shabbos. He arrived Friday afternoon by his car. However, when Shabbos morning came his car was gone, and the fellow was nowhere to be seen.
My Rebbe gave a sicha about “freedom” and explained what happened.
Friday night the fellow went into his room to sleep. He couldn’t sleep and was pacing the floor. The Rabbi who lived next door heard it and came in to speak with the fellow. The fellow said that he didn’t want to desecrate Shabbos, but he had the urge to do it. He couldn’t remember the last time that he didn’t go for his “Shabbos ride”. The Rabbi calmed him down a bit and left the room. A while later, the Rabbi heard the door close and a few moments later a motor started and he was gone.
“Is this freedom or slavery??” the Rabbi exclaimed.
“The fellow is begging not to desecrate the Shabbos, but he’s so addicted and enslaved with his ‘freedom’ and non-conformity that he can’t break the shackles that force him to be ‘free'”.
I also saw a beautiful letter, a few years ago, from a former Neveh Zion alumnus that echoes these sentiments. Our Mashgiach Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Blumenfeld had posted it on the wall in the Yeshivah. It was printed by Avi Leibovic, an alumnus that runs a program in L.A. for over 200 talmidim. This letter was written by another Neveh Zion alumnu.
I am going to try bring the main points of the letter, which also had a profound impact on me.
The young fellow was trying to comprehend the concept of going “from slavery to freedom” that we speak about on Pesach.
“ ‘From Slavery to Freedom,’ in my youth I often wondered if we really understand these words. As contemporary American Jews, living, as we do, with all the comforts of modern day society can we really grasp the concept of ‘Ovdus-Slavery?’ We certainly don’t have the ubiquitous Egyptian taskmaster, cruelly lashing out with his whip as we toil under the Middle-Eastern midday sun. Generally, we are not starving, or exposed to the elements, or acting as unpaid laborers.
Without feeling the depth of the idea of slavery, is it then possible for us to truly comprehend the concept of ‘Cheirus-Freedom?’ Free from what? Sure we’re free, in this country obsessed with freedom, but do we ever stop, sit down, and contemplate the gratitude we feel for our freedom? I don’t believe that this is something we can fully appreciate without first experiencing what it feels like to be enslaved.
As a nation, we have been persecuted throughout the generations, perhaps more so than any other people on Earth. Even with our intrinsic system of transmitting from one generation to the next, it still takes a rare individual who can actually feel the pain of his forefathers. How easy it is to forget the massacre of our people only 60 years ago, when we live in such relative comfort and opulence. Human nature dictates that we focus on the good that we have, rather than on the pain of others before us.
Perhaps I searched for an answer a little too hard, because then slavery found me.
Slavery came to me in disguise, wearing many masks. Slavery came to me with a fun-loving facade and the promise of freedom. Slavery came in the form of little bottles and bags. Slavery crept up on me slowly, convincing me that it was anything but. Slavery moved in and freedom moved out.
What is slavery? Slavery is not being in control of one’s destiny; letting an outside influence, be it person or pill, dictate what we do. Slavery is being beholden to something just more powerful than we are. It is waking up in the morning and not being able to get out of bed without the aid of poison. Slavery is despair, hopelessness.
It was a long painful arduous journey. When the realization that I was a slave, a prisoner, set in, I did what all prisoners do. I tried to escape. Unfortunately, this prison comes with bars of a different sort. They follow you. Having tried nearly everything, I was at the brink of emotional, mental spiritual and physical despair.
Out of desperation I searched for freedom in the one place I was sure it wasn’t- the one place that I knew deep down it had to be. I searched where I started. I searched for freedom using my tefillin and my prayers. I found freedom at home, the same place where I had left it all those years before. In many ways, that was the most painful part of the entire process. Admitting [that] one’s entire life has been a lie is no easy task. Many die rather than face the perceived humiliation, the acknowledgement of the destruction they’ve wrought….but out of pain comes healing.
As a Rebbe of mine is fond of repeating, ‘The darkest part of the night is before the dawn. [my note-This is a saying that our Mashgiach Rav Chaim Yisroel Blumenfeld often says.]
But when that dawn finally breaks…when ovdus [slavery] becomes cheirus [freedom]….nothing ever feels so sweet. Freedom has a meaning for me now. It was a lesson learned at high cost, but what else in life has value? This year sitting at the Seder table, I don’t think I’ll have a problem with Rabbi Elazar’s commandment ‘…A person is obligated to view himself as if he, too, left Egypt.’
When we experience slavery, we appreciate freedom.
May we all merit to experience freedom from our own personal slavery, and as a people, may we merit to experience the ultimate freedom, in our time, and return from exile.” Till here is the letter.
The main point we have to understand is that everyone has his own slavery-whether it’s drugs, alcohol, girls, television, internet, sleep, etc.
We also have to realize that we are not just commemorating events on Pesach that occurred thousands of years ago, rather as it says in”The Haggadah”, (published by Mesorah publications) by Rabbi Joseph Elias ;
“Any achievement that was attained, any great light that radiated at a certain time – when that time comes around again, the radiance of that light will shine again, and the fruits of that achievement will be received, for whoever is there to receive them.” (Derech Hashem)
“Each season of our year thus contains its unique emanations of holiness; through the cycle of the year we can seek to relive the great of happenings of our history, and – entering into their spirit – draw from them strength and inspiration for the future.” (S’fas Emes)
My berocho to us all is that we should gain and relive the real freedom of Pesach from our own personal slavery and then we will live a happier life in this world and the next.