Friday, 21 June 2019
(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

The Pesach Torah Reading.

In the Pesach Torah Reading we discover why Matzah is the bread of 'Emunah'.

(From Lev Sholom  – Rav Sholom Schwadron)


מַצָּה זוּ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים עַל שׁוּם מָה. עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹּא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּגְאָלָם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם עֻגֹּת מַצּוֹת כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ כִּי גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ וְגַם צֵדָה לֹא עָשֹוּ לָהֶם :

הגדה של פסח

matzahThis Matzah that we eat for what reason? Because the dough of our fathers did not have time to become leavened before the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them.

Thus it is said: "They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened Matzah cakes, for it had not leavened, for they were driven out of Egypt, and they could not tarry, and also, they had not made provisions for themselves."  (Haggadah Shel Pesach)

Rashi: This verse tells of Israel’s praise, [namely] that they did not say, "How will we go out into the desert without provisions?" Instead they believed and left. This is what is what is stated explicitly in the Prophets: "I remember to you the loving kindness of your youth, the love of your kallah years, your following Me in the desert, in a land not sown" (Yirmiyahu 2:2). Now what was the [Israelites’] reward? It is explained afterward: "Israel is holy to the Lord, etc." (Yirmiyahu 2:3). — [from Mechilta]

Candle lighting times for Pesach

Candle lighting blessings 

This is absolutely astounding! The Jews had two options in front of them. Either they could remain in that hell hole of Mitzrayim until such time as they prepared some provisions for the long journey. Or they could just leave. Don't ask any questions, just believe in Moshe and Aharon and follow them into the desert and trust Hashem that they would have everything they needed.

Now if it would have been the case that Moshe and Aharon had suddenly come to them and told them we're all leaving with no provisions and no time to prepare – then we could understand the great praise due to Klal Yisroel.

However, let us not forget that this great Exodus had been preceded with an entire year of miraculous and supernatural events. The world had been turned topsy turvy ten times to afflict the Egyptians and ten times to benefit the Jews. These miracles and wonders were engraved on their hearts and they are the fundamental basis of the practice of all Jews of all ensuing generations. They had seen and felt in their bones miracles for an entire year!

And now they had just experienced the last two plagues, unforgettable experiences. Wherever a Jew set his foot was filled with light, while the Egyptians standing right in front of them were immersed in utter darkness. It was as if a special sun had been created for each and every one of them wherever they were. It was enough for a person to go out of his mind from the miracles and marvels they experienced!

And finally came the climax. At midnight, just as Hashem had said, all the first born of the Egyptians died. Death was everywhere in the Egyptian streets. All the dogs were howling. But in the Jewish neighborhoods everything was calm and quiet, not even one dog barked. Each miracle in all its fine details enveloped them with a tangible emunah you could feel with your hand and sense in the air.

Witnessing all this who would be a fool to choose to remain in Mitzrayim and stand on the sidelines watching Moshe and Aharon marching out into the desert alone – to freedom?!

True. You need emunah in order to leave with no provisions. But the only other course would be to remain in Mitzrayim. After an entire year of pure concrete emunah that would be sheer madness. It would be a lunacy just about impossible to imagine.

And here is the possuk in the Torah attributing to us the great praise, זכרתי לך חסד נעוריך אהבת כלולתיך לכתך אחרי במדבר בארץ לא זרועה  I remember to you the lovingkindness of your youth, the love of your Kallah years, your following Me in the desert, in a barren land (Yirmiyahu 2:2).

How are we to understand this?

Knowledge Without Action Has No Worth

The above quoted Rashi is really introducing us to a very deep and awesome principle.

We all know that in the world of the physical there is "knowledge" and there is "action". They are two separate issues. A person can spend years studying how to cook, how to clean, how to build, how to drive, etc. But all this learning, all this knowledge is useless if he doesn't go and practice any of these skills. He must train himself to master all these new techniques. If he doesn't learn in conjunction with hands on training – he has learned nothing.

The same thing is true of ruchnius. The most full and awesome storehouse of emunah – like Yetzias Mitzrayim, the cornerstone of emunah and Yiddishkeit – isn't real as long as it remains in the mind alone until it comes out in the ordeal of action and the real world.

Chazal tell us that during Krias Yam Suf, even a simple maidservant had visions of the Heavenly worlds that the navi Yechezkel never achieved. But in spite of the marvelous revelations, she remained a maidservant, a lowly slave-girl so long as she didn't take any steps to materialize what she had seen.

The great visions of emunah that Klal Yisroel had witnessed in Mitzrayim were intended to give them the impetus that at the conclusive and compelling moment of Yetzias Mitzrayim they would take their first steps in real emunah – in action – and forsake all the illusory enticements to remain in Egypt, and instead follow Hashem into the wilderness.

"The loving-kindness of your youth," this was embodied in the first steps and initial actions of Klal Yisroel as Hashem's People, the first step in bringing into reality their crystal clear emunah. Just like a baby when he takes his first steps! With all of their deep-rooted experiences of the miracles, they still experienced great difficulty overcoming their inherent fears and uncertainties of the future. It took superhuman strength to follow Hashem into the wilderness with absolutely no privions. The possuk defines this as חסד נעוריך "the loving-kindness of your youth."

Yetzias Mitzrayim was a truly amazing event.

Candle lighting times

Candle lighting blessings 

We are making a crucial mistake when we think we have already achieved the highest level of spiritual expression suffice ourselves with good intentions and heartfelt tefillos immersed in deveikus towards Hashem. No! We still need to put the final touch of actualizing our emunah with firm actions and new lifestyles.

Wishing you a Chag Kosher v’Sameach!

© Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff,   Jerusalem Israel

Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop ‑ Lakewood)


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