Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Instead of kashering the kitchen for Pesach, we spent Saturday night biting our nails and waiting, bracing ourselves for an impending attack from Iran. We woke to the sound of sirens and explosions at around 2 a.m., safely making our way with our children and neighbors down into the bomb shelter. After a number of minutes – which felt like an eternity – we returned to our beds and tried to get some sleep. Tried. As any little noise from a passing car or truck startled us.

Awake for most of the night, one could not help but be reminded of how in Egypt the Jewish People were commanded, “You shall not leave the entrance of the house until morning” (Shemot 12:22). Hearing the sound of fighter jets overhead evoked echoes of “Hashem will pass over the entrance and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your homes to smite you” (Shemot 12:23). Hashem was protecting His people, as the IDF along with our allies intercepted over 300 Iranian drones and missiles. It was nothing short of miraculous. A night of miracles in the modern-day miracle that is Medinat Yisrael. A Night of Protection.


Seder night is called Leil Shimurim, a Night of Protection: “It is a Night of Protection for Hashem to take them out of the land of Egypt; that was the night for Hashem; a protection for all the Children of Israel for their generations” (Shemot 12:42). The verse describes it as Night of Protection for Hashem and for the Children of Israel. Rashi explains that it is indeed both a Night of Protection for Hashem and for His people. Hashem protects the promise He made to Avraham to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt, and we, the Jewish people, are protected on that night. “It is a night that is guarded from that time onward against harmful spirits, as it says, ‘He will not permit the destroyer…,’” Rashi writes.

According to Chazal, the Seder night is a night on which Hashem provides the Jewish people with additional spiritual protection. A night when we are unconcerned with harm. A night when we feel safe. This sense of safety and security finds expression in Jewish law and custom. We drink the Four Cups, unconcerned about being harmed by negative spiritual forces that can prey upon us when things are done in pairs (Pesachim 109b). We open the door to our homes during the Seder, and invoke that it is a Night of Protection and we need not fear (See Rema, Orach Chaim 480:1, and Mishna Berurah, ad loc.). The Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 481:1, citing the Maharil) records the custom to leave the doors unlocked.

For the same reason, one need not recite the entire Keri’at Shema al HaMitta before bed (Rema, Orach Chaim 481:2). And when Seder night falls on Shabbat, according to Rav Nissim Gaon (cited in the Tur, Orach Chaim 487) we do not say the Birkat Me’ein Sheva, as it was instituted to protect those returning home from the synagogue (See also Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 487:1 and Mishna Berurah, ad Loc.). Other authorities permit consuming liquids and foods left out overnight following the Seder, as it is a Night of Protection.

The Midrash suggests that this Night of Protection is not limited to Pesach Mitzrayim – that first Pesach – or the Seder night as we experience it, but alludes to the future redemption of Israel. As the Torah describes, it is a Night of Protection “for generations” – for future generations. This supports the view that the Final Redemption will take place in the month of Nissan (See Mechilta D’Rabbi Yishmael, Masechta D’Pischa 14. See also Rosh Hashana 11b). According to tradition, it is a night which historically saw a number of redemptions, and is a night which will herald the Final Redemption: “It is a night during which He performs great deeds for the righteous, just as He performed for Israel in Egypt. On that night He rescued Chizkiyahu, and on it He rescued Chananya and his counterparts, and on it He rescued Daniel from the lions’ den, and on it the Mashiach and Eliyahu HaNavi will be exalted” (Shemot Rabbah 18:12).

We are living through difficult times, challenging times, and confusing times. But we are also fortunate to be living during miraculous times. On Pesach, we praise and thank Hashem for redeeming us from the slavery of Egypt, and long and pray for the Final Redemption, may it come speedily in our days, Amen. In the meantime, we recognize the miracles and protection that Hashem provides every day here in the State of Israel.


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Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel lives and teaches in Jerusalem, where he serves as mara d'atra of Har Nof's Kehilat Zichron Yosef, rosh kollel of the Sinai Kollel and Kollel Boker at Hovevei Zion, and lectures at the OU Center.