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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Korban Pesach’

Is There a Mitzva to Eat Matza the Entire Holiday of Pesach?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

The Torah in Parashat Bo (Shemot 12:8) commands eating the korban pesach (the paschal lamb) together with matza and marror.  Inasmuch as today we cannot offer sacrifices, including the korban pesach, there is no longer a biblical obligation to eat marror, which is to be eaten in conjunction with the korban pesach.  However, our sages instituted a rabbinic requirement to eat marror independently of the korban.

However, Rava maintained that the obligation of matza has an independent status as a biblical requirement, since the Torah explicitly states, “On [that] night you should eat matzot” (Shemot 12:8).  The gemara cites a beraita which supports this opinion.  The beraita observes that in one place, the Torah requires eating matza all seven days of the festival (Shemot 12:15), whereas elsewhere, it obligates eating matza for only six days (Devarim 16:8).  The beraita employs an exegetical principle of Rabbi Yishmael to conclude that once the second verse excludes the seventh day from the obligation, the entire obligation dissolves.  Seemingly, then, the consumption of matza on Pesach should be entirely optional.  Therefore, the Torah specifically mentions the obligation to eat matza together with the korban on the first night of Pesach.  And even if there is no korban, the Torah still reiterated “On [that] night you should eat matzot” to establish an independent mitzva to eat matza.  The Rambam (Sefer Ha-Mitzvot, mitzvat asei 158), as well as other codifiers, write that there is a biblical requirement to eat matza on the first night of Pesach – even when the Temple no longer stands.

The Chizkuni (Shemot 12:18) understands the Torah’s seemingly convoluted presentation of this mitzva to imply that, although there is no obligation to eat matza the entire week of Pesach, one who does eat matza fulfills a mitzva by doing so.  He explains that when it comes to most mitzvot, one not only merits reward for observing them, but also deserves punishment if he is negligent and fails to fulfill them.  However, some mitzvot (such as eating matza after the first night of Pesach) do not entail any punishments but do bring reward to those who opt to fulfill them.

Another possible source for this mitzva to eat matza throughout the entirety of Pesach is the juxtaposition of the prohibition against eating chametz and the requirement to eat matza (Devarim 16:3).  The gemara (Pesachim 43b) derives from this textual association that women (who are forbidden from eating chametz) must eat matza (despite its being a time-bound positive mitzva, which should seemingly exempt women).  According to Rav Shimon (Pesachim 28b), these two mitzvot are mutually dependent in terms of the times of their application as well.  Rav Shimon maintains that there is no biblical prohibition to eat chametz on erev Pesach or after Pesach.  His argument is that chametz is biblically forbidden only at the time that matza is to be eaten.  The Penei Yehoshua (ad loc.) writes that Rashi’s interpretation of Rav Shimon shows that there is a biblical REQUIREMENT to eat matza all Pesach.

We find another indication that the mitzva of eating matza is required (or at least fulfilled) throughout Pesach in the discussion regarding laying tefillin on chol ha-moed.  The gemara (Menachot 36b) explains that since tefillin are called an “ot” (a sign), and Shabbat and Yom Tov are themselves an “ot,” there is no need to put on tefillin on those days.  Tosafot (ad loc.) raise the issue of whether one must wear tefillin on chol ha-moed, and they claim that Pesach is an “ot” since chametz is forbidden, and Sukkot is an “ot” because it obligates us to sit in the sukka.  The Rosh (Responsa 23:3), however, cites the Geonim as saying that Pesach is an “ot” due to the “OBLIGATION” of eating matza.  Indeed, it seems far more logical that an “ot” should involve a demonstrative act such as eating matza, rather than passively refraining from eating chametz.  Although the Rosh maintains that one should put on tefillin on chol ha-moed, he does not take issue with the opinion that the obligation of matza creates an “ot.”

Metzora: Living Within the Community

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Last week, we had connected the laws relating to the purification of a metzora to the laws of the korban Pesach. Why would that be? In this week’s video, Rabbi Fohrman puts the pieces together and reminds us that both teach us about ‘radical separateness’ – and while each of us is an individual, we are also part of a larger unit.


Visit AlphaBeta.  /  Rabbi David Fohrman

My Machberes

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Visiting Cemeteries In Nissan

The general custom is not to visit a cemetery during the month of Nissan, the month in which the nation of Israel was freed from slavery and in which we celebrate the Yom Tov of Pesach. Those having a yahrzeit for either a father or mother visit the cemetery immediately before or after Nissan (Gesher Hachaim 26:6, Orchos Rabbeinu 2:305, Piskei Teshuvos 429:4).

Of course, as with every rule there are exceptions. Some permit visiting a parent’s grave on a yahrzeit. The visit would be exclusively to the one gravesite. However, visiting the gravesites of tzaddikim is mostly allowed, with the specific gravesite being the exclusive destination. Consequentially, visits to gravesites of tzaddikim during Nissan are noteworthy.

Since visits to cemeteries are greatly reduced in Nissan, the international gathering of tens of thousands of Jews at the gravesite in Sanz (formerly in Austro-Hungary and today in Poland) of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, zt”l (1793-1876), revered Sanzer Rav and author of Divrei Chaim, on his yahrzeit, 25 Nissan (this year coinciding with Tuesday, April 17) is of major significance. The assembly of so many pious Jews to pray at the gravesite is testimony of the impact the Divrei Chaim had during his lifetime, as well as the continuing influence that affects chassidic Jewry to this very day.

Local Organized Cemetery Visits

Beirach Moshe, zt”l

Satmar in Monroe: Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1914-2006), late Satmar Rebbe and author of Beirach Moshe, passed away late in the afternoon of Monday, 26 Nissan (April 24), 2006, and is buried in Kiryas Yoel next to his uncle, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), first Satmar Rebbe and author of Divrei Yoel. The yahrzeit this year is on Wednesday, April 18. Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, his eldest son and Satmar Rebbe, will conduct a l’chaim tisch after Shacharis in Kiryas Yoel and then visit the gravesite. The Rebbe will be accessible for berachos in his home at 5 Sanz Court, from 6 to 7 p.m. He will then conduct the yahrzeit tisch in the main Satmar Beis Medrash in Kiryas Yoel on Wednesday evening, beginning at 7 p.m.

Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe and son of the Beirach Moshe, will commemorate the yahrzeit with Shacharis in Williamsburg, followed by a Siyum Mishnayos, and then visit the gravesite at 2:00 pm. The Rebbe will conduct the yahrzeit tisch in the main Satmar Beis Medrash on Rodney Street in Williamsburg on Wednesday beginning at 6:30 pm, incorporating a siyum hashas. Thousands of chassidim will attend each event.

Sanz in New Jersey: Rabbi Yonah Landau, the renowned chassidishe historian who has brought American gravesites of tzaddikim to the attention of the observant community, organized coach buses to bring visitors from Lee Avenue at Ross Street in Williamsburg to gravesites on Sunday, April 15, and Wednesday, April 18.

The first group visited the gravesite of Rabbi Menachem Binyamin Ben Zion Rottenberg-Halberstam, zt”l (1881-1957), Voideslover-Sanzer Rebbe, who emigrated to the United States in 1922 and conducted his beis medrash in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was the son of Rabbi Aaron Halberstam, zt”l Hy”d (1865-1942), of Biala-Bilitz and author of Meged Eretz and Pri Noah, murdered in the Holocaust; son of Rabbi Yosef Zev Halberstam, zt”l (d. 1890), Kshanover dayan; son of Rabbi Dovid Halberstam, zt”l (1818-1893), Kshanover Rebbe; son of the Divrei Chaim. Rabbi Menachem Binyamin Ben Zion is buried in the Washington Cemetery on Deans Rhode Hall Road, Monmouth Junction (Deans), New Jersey.

Rabbi Menachem Binyamin Ben Zion assumed the additional hyphenated name of Rottenberg after his second marriage in 1913. His second father-in-law was Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Reuven Yechezkia Rottenberg, zt”l (d. 1935), Voidislover Rav and author of Sifsei Avrohom. Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Reuven Yechezkia Rottenberg was the nephew of Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Alter (Rottenberg), zt”l (1899-1867), founding Gerer Rebbe and author of Chidushei Harim. Rabbi Menachem Binyamin Ben Zion was also the maternal grandson of Rabbi Alter Meir Rottenberg zt”l, Valbromver Rav. Rabbi Menachem Binyamin Ben Zion, prior to coming to America, lived in Voidislov and, as a great-grandson of the Divrei Chaim personified Sanzer chassidus there as well as later in America.

Being that he is a direct descendant of the Divrei Chaim and that his yahrzeit is just three days removed from that of the Divrei Chaim, his gravesite is much visited year round and especially in Nissan. A l’chaim tisch was prepared near the gravesite.

Manastrich in Queens: The second Nissan cemetery visit organized by Rabbi Yonah Landau will leave on Wednesday, April 18, from Williamsburg to the Old Montefiore Cemetery on Springfield Boulevard in St. Albans, Queens. Prayers will be said at the gravesite of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel Rabinowitz, zt”l (1860-1938), Manastricher Rebbe who fled pogroms in Russia and arrived in the United States in 1924. His son, Rabbi Gedalya Aaron, zt”l Hy”d (1880-1919) was murdered in a pogrom.

Pesach: The End Of Victimhood

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 18:12) describes “leil shimurim,” the “night of watching,” the night before the redemption, as one of the glorious nights in Jewish history.

Not only did we eat the Korban Pesach, have the first Seder and prepare to depart the land of Egypt, but also it later became the night that Chizkiyahu, Chanania, Mishael, Azaria, Daniel and others were saved – and the night on which “Mashiach and Eliyahu mitgadlin” – on which they are elevated, become great – or, according to another text, the night they are mitgalim – revealed.

But what does it mean that on these days they are magnified or revealed?

It is not as if they actually appear. The Gemara says in Eruvin 43a that if a person vows to become a nazir on whatever day Mashiach comes, then he is allowed to drink wine on every Shabbat and Yom Tov because Mashiach obviously does not come on those days. Furthermore, “we have been promised that Mashiach will not come on the eve of Shabbat or Yom Tov either, because of the inconvenience” – people are busy preparing for those holy days! So how then are Mashiach and Eliyahu exalted or revealed at the Seder if they cannot come?

The Jewish people left Egypt at high noon on 15 Nissan 3,334 years ago, but Egypt did not leave us for a much longer period of time. At the Red Sea, we reacted like a nation of slaves, and throughout our sojourn in the wilderness we exhibited a slave mentality – bemoaning our fate, and glamorizing and/or understating the travails of Egypt.

We were told four days before the Exodus to take the deities of Egypt and to slaughter them on the 14th, in full sight of the Egyptians – to show our inner strength and our relief from Egyptian domination, to show we had broken away from the psychological stranglehold they had on us. It did not completely succeed.

We were ill equipped for freedom, and understandably so. Slavery, persecution, dehumanization, and extermination take their toll on the psyche. Victims do not recover instantly or easily. It takes time to wean out of our system the lingering effects of maltreatment, and until then victimization is comfortable. It becomes an excuse for every failure, every inaction, and sometimes for every misdeed.

We all marvel at Holocaust survivors who were left with nothing material and were able to rebuild, and prosper, and overcome the torments they endured. But a steep price is still paid – sometimes for individuals, and even greater as a nation. Too many people who are beaten down become comfortable as victims and uncomfortable with power.

For too long we have competed in the arena of victimhood, and love even more the sympathy that is engendered by our suffering.

There are plenty of Jews who are more comfortable with grief and mourning than with strength and the projection of power. Many proclaim at the Seder “in every generation they come upon us to destroy us” as a badge of victimhood, and not, as intended, in gratitude to God who has preserved us throughout history.

We have built dozens of Holocaust memorials across the world – which certainly serve a purpose for us but do not keep one Jew Jewish and certainly have done little to diminish the level of Jew-hatred in the world. We may think our victimhood is unique – and it is – but tell that to the Kurds or Armenians or Cambodians or Sudanese or Russians. These days, even Germans and Austrians claim to be victims of the Nazis. In this macabre competition, there are no winners.

The State of Israel was supposed to put an end to the glories of victimization – but it hasn’t entirely. The fact that the only innocent civilians in the world that are routinely targeted by random rockets are the Jews in Israel’s south – with little inclination to put a final end to it – only shows that victims talk it into themselves that victimhood is everlasting and unchangeable.

The Iron Dome system, while a technological marvel, is the ultimate defensive system. Rather than disarm and permanently disable the shooter, it attempts to shoot a bullet out of the air with another bullet. Even if it succeeds most of the time – remarkable in itself – it fails as a stable strategy because the incoming rockets still force ordinary citizen to cower in bomb shelters, lest a missile manage to sneak through. Thus, lives are still disrupted, children are still traumatized, and society is still terrorized. It is like a physician who treats the symptoms but not the disease.

It is hard to imagine another country putting up with similar attacks for as long as Israel has because it is inconceivable. Ultimately, the hand of the shooter must be stayed, or the enemy will devise ways to defeat even the Iron Dome. And that will only energize the cult of victimization.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/pesach-the-end-of-victimhood/2012/03/28/

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