(Haftara: Malachi 3:4-24)
1. Our holy books tell us that chametz—leaven—represents arrogance. On Pesach leaven is totally forbidden to us. Arrogance is totally undesirable to us, so why is leaven only forbidden on the week of Pesach. Why is it not forbidden all year round?
2. Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kuk (1865-1935—Lithuania, Israel) tells us that matzah represents freedom and marror (bitter herbs) represents the limitation to freedom because of listening to God. They are eaten together in korech (the sandwich) and this reminds us of the holy Temple–our ideal. Why do we call Pesach the “festival of freedom” if our freedom is limited?
3. “…this is the poor-man’s bread…”, We start the seder by opening our homes and inviting people to join us. What does the fact that the Haggadah starts this way tell us about being free people and about Judaism?
4. In the same passage—”Ha lachma anyah”, we say, “Now we are here, next year, we will be in the land of Israel”. But at the end of the Haggaddah, (before the extra songs), we end by saying “Next year in Jerusalem”. Why did the editor of the Haggadah change the language from “the land of Israel” to “Jerusalem”?
5. What important educational rule is emphasized in “The 4 Sons”, and how can it be applied in our own personal and family lives, and our community lives?
All the festivals in the Torah are not only anniversaries of historical events, but are also times to relive the spirit of that particular festival. On Pesach, the atmosphere and energy of the Jewish world is one of freedom—from slavery to freedom; from darkness to light. The Redemption from Egyptian slavery is both a physical redemption and a spiritual one. Like other things in the Torah it works on at least 3 levels—the personal, the national and the universal.
On the personal level, the word Mitzrayim (Egypt) can also be pronounced metzarim in Hebrew—narrow places. Narrowness is a narrowness of mind and of emotion. It suggests fear and unwillingness to expand or to love. It suggests being enslaved within one’s negative habits, opinions, emotions and behaviours. Because freedom is the dominant mood at Passover, it is a very good time to try to free oneself from the negative aspects in one’s life and to try to go personally from darkness to light, from personal slavery to personal freedom.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer