Parshas Tzav / Shabbos HaGadol - A Wedding Without the Bride?!!

By Rabbi Paysach Diskind

Posted on 03/22/18

This Shabbos carries more than the name of its Parsha, Tzav. It is also known as Shabbos Hagadol because of its proximity to Pesach. There is a unique mitzvah that precedes the holiday of Pesach; the mitzvah of maos chittim.  This mitzvah obligates every member of the city to provide the needy folks in the city with the means to celebrate the holiday. It is a bit perplexing what the purpose of this mitzvah is? There already is a mitzvah for the members of the city to contribute to the communal Kupah, which is the fund from which the needs of all members of the community are provided. Why is there an additional collection for Pesach.

Furthermore, next Friday night, the Jewish people will be seated with their families and friends to celebrate the birth of our nation. They will begin their Seder with an invitation to all the needy folks to join in the Seder and partake in the celebration. When we make Kiddush Friday night and when we make Kiddush the first night of Succos as well as every other Kiddush, we do not extend such an invitation? Why is this night of Pesach different from all the other nights of our Shabbosim and holidays?

During the notorious 1913 Beilis trial in Kiev the entire Jewish nation along with our sacred Torah were on trial. The story revolved around a blood libel in which Mendel Beilis was accused of a ritual slaughter of a Russian teenager. All of Torah was placed on trial and specific attention was given to the following dictum found in the Talmud. In the context of the laws of tumah, spiritual impurity, the Talmud states “the Jewish people is called Man, the other nations are not called Man.” The Kiev court argued that the implication of this principle is that the Torah does not recognize other nations as men but rather as animals. There was one great Rabbi, Rabbi Meir Shapiro zt’l who was called in to testify. He explained the passage of the Talmud as follows.

“Every nation with the exception of the Jewish people are defined as a group of people made up of many individuals. A large nation has many individuals and a small nation has fewer individuals. If one member of the nation commits a crime the blame rests on his head alone. It may be shared by his close friends and family but it will definitely not be shared by his entire nation; why should other individuals share in that crime?’

‘The Jewish people, on the other hand, are different. They are defined as a single Man. Every member of the Jewish people is another organ of this great Man. They are not separated into multiple individuals but rather multiple components of one Man. To illustrate this, consider what is taking place in this courtroom. One single Jew is being judged for an alleged crime and the entire nation has been placed on trial. The dictum of Talmud is exactly what is occurring today in this courtroom!”

When we sit down to celebrate our becoming the Jewish nation we must include every member of our beautiful nation. The celebration will not be complete unless every member is present. Can a family celebrate the wedding if the bride is not in attendance?

Our Sages instituted the mitzvah of maos chittim so that our celebration will be complete. Even though we already have the Kupah of the city instituted, nevertheless, when it comes to our Pesach holiday we must insure that all members of the nation are present.

May HaShem see how beautifully we recognize our eternal bond to Him as well as to each other and together we will reunite in Yerushalayim.