This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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Passover (5760 (1))
This Holiday has three names:
‘Chag ha Matzot’ (Holiday of Matzot) is the name given by the Torah.
‘Zman Cherusainu’ (the Time of our freedom) is the name given 1000 yearslater by the men of the Great Assembly (in our prayer books).
And, of course, ‘Chag ha Pesach’ the name which is most commonly used (afterthe Pascal goat or lamb sacrificed then).When the entire Jewish nation left Egypt over 3300 years ago, true, it was adramatic physical and political change, but the spiritual changes were evengreater, and these spiritual changes are repeated every year.
These three names refer to three spiritual changes that occur every Passoverand which every Jew can plug into:
Chag HaMatzot refers to spiritual birth.
Zman Cherusainu refers to spiritual enthusiasm.
Pesach refers to spiritual transformation.Let us begin with the first level, ‘Chag Ha Matzot’.
On Pesach the Jews left Egypt (Mitzriam).
The word Mitzriam also means ‘limitations’ in Hebrew.
Spiritually it means the inability to be aware of The Infinite G-d. Thatwas the essence of the Egyptian exile; to be unaware of G-d.
The Egyptians were very spiritual and mystical people (even theirschoolchildren could transform sticks into snakes), but they were also veryselfish, very limited, they refused to admit that there is a Creator who isalso King of the Universe (see Exodous 5:2).
Now, while the Jews were slaves in Egypt, they were also slaves to thisEgyptian mentality; they were sort of in a spiritual womb.Just as a fetus knows little of the real world so also their awareness ofthe Creator was almost non-existent, they had only a small ‘seed’ of ‘Emuna’ (faith in G-d), intrinsic in every Jew from the time of Avraham.
When they ate Matza, however, this faith became strengthened and they leftthe spiritual ‘womb’ called Mitzriam.
In fact, the Mystical book ‘The Zohar’ even calls Matza ‘The Food of Faith’, because of its ability to feed and strengthen this basic connection toG-d.
That is why the birth of the Jewish people is called ‘the Holiday of Matza’.
And so it is today.
In EVERY Jew there lies a dormant faith in G-d, which must be revealed andstrengthened. And that is what happens when we eat Matza on Pesach, ourJewish feeling becomes born once again.The second name, “Zman Charusainu” refers to a higher level of connection toG-d; excitement and joy.
Excitement comes from being involved and interested in something meaningful.It is much more consuming and personal than just simple ‘Emuna’.
When the Jews were in Egypt they were interested only in staying alive. Theonly thing they had to be happy about was when they successfully finished aday’s work.
Leaving Egypt meant freedom from all this. Their minds and souls becamefree to do something truly meaningful; to serve The Creator of the Universe.
In other words the Jews became G-d’s servants, instead of Pharaoh’s.(This also corresponds to the time of year that Pesach is celebrated;spring, when everything is becoming full of new life.)
So also Passover, the ‘Festival of Freedom’, gives Jews freedom from themundane and a new excitement and joy in being Jewish.
Pesach, the third name, means jumping (Shmos 12:23). This is the third andultimate level; transformation.
When one jumps he moves totally and suddenly to a new place.
Which is not so when a person walks or even runs, one foot always remainsbehind while the other progresses forward, the change is not as sudden.
So also here; when the Jews left Egypt they became suddenly, at once, newcreations.
In other words, the term ‘Pesach’ implies something completely differentthan just birth or total involvement.
In the first two levels one feels new and even enthusiastic, but stillseparate from G-d, G-d is just the object of one’s service.
The third level means becoming united, on a new level, with HaShem; tobecome a different person.
So different that the only term fit to describe them after the jump thatthey took is ‘Sons of G-d” (Shmot 4:22)(The Lubavitch Rebbe compares these three steps (birth, joy andtransformation) to the process involved in learning any new skill or idea;First one must negate himself to the teacher like a small child.Then one must become enthusiastic and involved in the subject.And finally one becomes a new person, a doctor etc.)
But these three levels in the service of HaShem are not limited just toPassover; in fact Passover gives the blessing and power for making suchchanges the entire year:
First, in all service of HaShem (i.e. prayer, doing good deeds etc.) onemust begin with complete surrender to G-d saying, “I am nothing” This iscalled ‘Emuna’ and it is the foundation of serving G-d.
Next, one must add enthusiasm and joy saying, “I loveG-d, G-d is good!”.
But finally one’s “I” changes and transforms to something different (whichis a gift from HaShem to all who serve Him in truth).
What can we learn from all the above?
We can change, and we can change the world.
In fact, as the Lubavitch Rebbe stressed time and time again, we must doeverything in our power to improve ourselves and the world around usconstantly.
But simultaneously we must keep in mind that we are not alone.
We must always remember that we are only creations, and that the same G-dwho took us out of Egypt can and WILL help us to succeed and overcome allobstacles…. no matter how great the obstacles seem.
We must cry out to HaShem for Moshiach and for the final redemption, just asthe Jews cried out for freedom in Egypt and do all we can to make it happen.
And soon we will see the biggest ‘Birth’, ‘Excitement’ and ‘Jump’ of themall;
HaShem will do His part and we will see the arrival of the MOSHIACH NOW!!!
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