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Parshas Tzav/Pesach - The Seder, Putting your Life in Order!!!            12 Nissan 5781

03/25/2021 11:46:53 AM

Mar25

This year will mark the three thousand, three hundred, thirty-third time that the Jewish people will be celebrating Pesach, the exodus from slavery. The history of the Jews is evidence to our eternity as a people, and Jewish history is the history of all mankind. One major secret to our continued existence and ability to survive has been the transmission of Torah from generation to generation. If the Jew fulfills the directive of ושננתם לבניך   - to teach our children, we will continue thriving until the end of time. Unfortunately, for some that teaching and the accompanying chain has been severed. The results, therefore, are no surprise: their children have become part of the eighty percent who died during the plague of darkness and did not merit to leave Egypt.

Please take note, mainstream commentaries explain the reason the Jews died while it was dark is because the Egyptians should not be able to say Hashem is killing his own people, not only us. I would suggest the Jews perished during the plague of Choshech/darkness not only in the literal sense but also figuratively; they died a religious death and were no longer interested in being Jewish, choosing instead to assimilate into Egyptian culture. To ensure that the transmission is successful, we need to actively teach our children, both in both mind and action, not only teaching Torah, but role modeling it as well. We must act as we preach; actions do, indeed, speak louder than words. There is no better opportunity to reset our life and goals for our family and ourselves than Pesach.

Although the Torah commands a father to teach his children Torah, there exists the concept of a “Shaliach”, a messenger for many mitzvos. Teaching Torah to our children is not an exception. In today’s society, children primarily are taught in a school system. Even in a “home schooling” situation, it is someone else who does most of the teaching.  Nevertheless, Chaza”l direct us מצוה בו יותר מבשלוחו  it is a greater to do a Mitzva yourself than through a messenger. Pesach is the time when we can learn from others and still maintain the obligation of teaching and transmitting the most basic and essential messages for our family’s future.

No matter how old a person is, he still learns from others, particularly when such learning is available from his or her Rebbi. I participated in a zoom session with my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Berel Wein, who gave over to us (his children) some key points and takeaways of the most important things to discuss at the seder. I will share these priceless points so that you, too, can implement them, crafting an atmosphere that will leave an indelible impression on our families for years to come, transmitting something they will cherish and pass on to the next generation.

The Pesach seder is meant to be an experience for children. We are celebrating Cheirus, which means freedom. It should not be torture or an experience they want to forget about. They should be free to enjoy and be free of criticism, allowing them the liberty to be the stars of the show while the adults (of course choreographing behind the scenes) should be the audience, demonstrating accolades and woo hoos for the participants. Children should feel their own freedom, and as they mature they will come to appreciate the concept that every Jew needs to feel as if they, too, left Mitzrayim.

Kids look forward to certain events throughout the year, such as a special birthday party. We should make our seder look and feel like a fantastic birthday party for kids. It needs to be fun and active.  No child falls asleep or is bored at their own birthday party. This seder/party is filled with goodies, a game of hiding the afikomen and even a promised present during Chol HaMoed. Most of us enjoy participating in being given a chance to star or take on a great part. We should make it so for the children. If they view the seder as a party, they will look forward to next year’s seder throughout the year. Eventually, as they grow and mature, they will appreciate the story and the Torah that is involved in the story of the Jewish people.

The participants at the seder must appreciate the words אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו, ומה נעים גורלנו, ומה יפה ירושתנו Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu, Umah Naim Goraleinu, Umah Yafa Yerushateinu: How good is our portion, how pleasant our lot, and how beautiful our heritage! We cannot overstate it enough to relate the benefit and beauty that we have the Torah and the way of life as a Jew. Our inheritance is something we received and will give over to our children. We must feel it to effectively transmit it.Whenf children smell our lack of the above, they will sever this bond as soon as they grow up, (even a little) cutting the connection.  

An integral part of the seder is not only mentioning where we left, but almost equally important, where we were going. Our homeland is Eretz Yisrael, and we need to explain, teach and demonstrate our Ahavas  Eretz Yisrael, our love of the Land of Israel. I will always be thankful to the country we have so graciously been a part of, but I will not be apologetic to say we are only visitors and guests here in America. Rabbi Wein has a custom to drink wine specifically made in Israel. Sixty years ago Israeli wine was unheard of. Today, Israeli wine producers compete at the highest levels in international wine production. The Netzi”v, Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, upon receiving a bottle of wine from Israel, donned his Shabbos clothing prior to drinking this wine from the holy land. We, too, should devote some part of the seder to specifically focus on Eretz Yisrael, sharing this gift of the present state of Israel in our time.

Finally, we recite the most important words of the seder and if we don’t, we do not fulfill the night’s order. Whoever does not recite “Pesach, Matza and Marror” does not fulfill his obligation.  This is the underlying message to teach and give over to our families. The Pesach meal represents the best of times in our life. The Matzah, as we had to eat it quickly or not have a chance to let it rise, represents the unexpected challenges of life. The Marror, the bitter herb, was no better witnessed this past year during Corona. Death, illness, isolation, sadness permeated the entire world. It was a bitter lesson, especially for Klal Yisrael.   The life lesson is that as we taste many things in life, both sweet and bitter, we still have to make a bracha on it - for good or the bad. Life has its ups and downs and that is part of our heritage and history.  

We should be zocheh to merit the ability to fulfill these messages. As a result, we will put our life and the lives of our future generations in order through the Pesach Seder!

Ah Gutten Shabbos & Ah Chag Kasher V'Sameach

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

 

          

Rabbi Bogopulsky’s book “Developing A Torah Personality” is available for purchase directly from him or by clicking 

https://mosaicapress.com/product/developing-a-torah-personality/ 

 

Tue, September 28 2021 22 Tishrei 5782