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Being Slaves to the Real Master - Pesach 5769

Posted by Dovid Boruch Kopel
April 8, 2009 - ט"ו ניסן ה' תשס"ט
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Year after year we find ourselves being freed from the bondage of Egypt once again. We say in the end of הא לחמא עניא that השתא הכא לשנה הבא בירושלים השתא עבדי לשנה הבא בני חורין. This means that now we are in exile but next year we should be in Eretz Yisroel, now we are enslaved and next year we should be free people. We say in עבדים היינו that we were slaves and all of future generation would have been enslaved had Hashem released us from our bondage. The process of the seder in many ways is to mimic the actual leaving of Egypt. We try to recount the details of the exodus and at its conclusion we break out into song due to our feelings of joy. On the eve of Pesach we aren’t simply remembering, we are going through the process of the exodus ourselves. The fact that the hagadah refers to us though we were avudim and are no longer seems to be in contradiction to the idea that we are in fact still avudim and are leaving Egypt tonight. This idea needs for further explanation that will b’ezras Hashem come through a myriad of ideas put together.

My Rebbi has told me in the past that Yitzchak Avinu is the first ben of the avos. Meaning to say that Yitzchak is the ben (lit. son) of Avraham, but he is personifies the concept of what a son is. The Haggadah contains references to the four sons; the wise, wicked, simple, and unable to ask. Rebbi says that the four sons are the four different types of son that someone may be. It is even possible to have parts of each son, but there are no other types of son. Yitzchak Avinu was the source of what a son is and that is possibly why he was born on Pesach as he is the beginning of the son of Klal Yisroel. That means that exodus of Klal Yisroel begins with the children of the twelve tribes who all came from Avraham Avinu, Yitzchak Avinu and lastly Yaakov Avinu. The entire seder is focused around the children and they have a much greater role than in any other yom tov.

It is very interesting to note that the text that we read from during the seder is in fact called the Hagadah while the actual obligation of telling over the tale of the exodus is called סיפור יציאת מצרים. Of course the language hagadah is used in regards to the obligation to telling the exodus to one’s child “הגדת לבנך”. It is my belief that there are two laws within the mitzvah of סיפור יציאת מצרים, there is a mitzvah to tell your child and there is a mitzvah to tell over ever detail of the exodus. If you read the p’sukim you may think that you are in fact exempt from the mitzvah of סיפור יציאת מצרים if you don’t have a son, which is not the case. The two words used to describe these two laws are הגדה and סיפור. Hagadah literally means to tell over from the word להגיד.  Sippur comes from the root ספר which has a lot of depth to it. My Rebbi always says over that there are two ways to express a thought; you can say it to someone or you can write it down and have someone read it. The revelation of ספר is the second way of transmitting an idea or thought. The word סיפור is a story or tale, one that is not just a mere telling of events but full of details. The idea of a written account of something is that it is accounting for a complete message. The word מספר which means a number would seem to be contradictory to this idea, as a number is not endless it is bound to an exact value. A story is only an expression of an interpretted view of an event. Therefore we see that a sippur is in fact an interpretation that is complete. The Will of Hashem is endless with no limits, but it is still given a name, the Will of Hashem, it is the Torah. That is the ספר of the Will of Hashem. While the Torah has only a certain amount of letters the depth of its meaning is endless, and it fully captures the Will of Hashem. A number is exact but it is the description of that exact existence, even though the understanding of the actual content may be unknown or endless it is still given a title that can correctly identify it. The mitzvah of סיפור יציאת מצרים is to tell over the actual exodus with full detail and understanding. The words the Torah uses is that it should be said to the ears of the child. In Torah that reference means that it should be told to them not taught to them. If you want to teach someone you teach them not tell them. Therefore we conclude this idea that there are two aspects of the mitzvah of סיפור יציאת מצרים one that is to tell over a basic understanding to your children and the other is to account for the entire exodus to the best of your ability.

With this understanding we can go back to further understand the two aspects of the night of Pesach. We are both slaves and freemen at the sametime. In our telling over the details of the exodus to our children we are freemen because we are in fact no longer enslaved by Pharoh. In the endless detail of the exodus we are still enslaved by Phraroh as that never leaves us. A chag is not an anniversary for the event which took place, that is a terrible mistake! Jews don’t celebrate anniversaries we relive the event again! There is no point of remembering sometng if it has no purpose. Why would we remember the slavery that we experienced in Egypt? So we appreciate what we have now? No! Because we are still slaves, we must leave the slavery of Egypt this evening. What are you talking about!? Of course physically we are not slaves but in every other way we are. We are still slaves to all of the four exiles of the Jewish people. Each of them attributes a certain attribute that our people are affected by. They still control our lives! We are supposed to be Avday Hashem and not the slaves of anyone else! The Sfas Emes says that there are four tikkunim on the evening of Pesach. Each of them are to fix one of the four attributes that are associated with the four exiles. The last one being l’shon hara. That is the fuel that burns for the last galus. The disgusting act of speaking endlessly about others in a way that is well below the holiness of the mouth of a Jew. The seder is a chance to help us fix this terrible attribute that we are all subject to. We must do this by speaking endlessly about the exodus this evening! The way that we conquer filfth that comes from inside is by using it for holiness. We must take our mouths that would lead us to slavery, where we lose control over our lives. We become governed by the rulers of the exile not Hashem! We must use Torah and Mitzvos as the vehicle to flip that attribute to good. We must speak endlessly with Torah and understanding the exodus. Then we may become true freemen, man that are able to control their actions and not just act without thought. To understand why he is a Jew, where we come from and where we are going. All of Judaism begins in Pesach, the seder is a fresh start. Let’s embrace this oppurtunity with all its grandeur and glory and free ourselves from the evil will that we have. Let us break free from the slavery of other and become the true Ovdai Hashem!

Chag Kashur V’Sameach!


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