Leil Seder

By Reb Eliezer Bulka

Posted on 03/26/21

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
Dr. Shapsy Tajerstein, DPM - Podiatry Care.
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The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.

This week's shtikle is dedicated for a refuah sheleimah for my father.

Please include Reuven Pinchas ben Yehudis in your tefillos.

This past year has been a difficult one on a national level in many different aspects, not the least of which was the loss of many of our great leaders. One such giant was Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of British Commonwealth. In his honour, I am resending my initial thoughts on his haggadah, of which I am a big fan and I have quoted numerous times:

The haggadah includes commentary directly on the actual text as well as a collection of insightful essays in the back. There is a common theme that presents itself throughout - that the story of yetzias Mitzrayim cannot be viewed simply as a singular historical event but rather a monumentally significant episode that shaped and continues to shape us as individuals and more importantly, as a people.

In the essay "The Missing Fifth," Rabbi Sacks begins by going over the well-known "fours" - the four questions, four sons, four cups and four expressions of redemption. Four fours, in fact. He goes on to explain how each group actually has a missing fifth - a fifth question, a fifth son, a fifth cup and a fifth expression of redemption. Furthermore, there is yet a fifth group of four - the four pesukim from Ki Sisa which we expound upon in the main part of Maggid. There, too, there is a fifth pasuk, "Vayevi'einu el hamakom hazeh.." which we do not discuss. The common theme of these missing fifths is tied to the ultimate completion of the redemption from Mitzrayim, namely settling Eretz Yisrael and our ultimate redemption which has eluded us for so many generations but feels ever so much closer.

I couldn't even attempt to express these ideas nearly as eloquently as R' Sacks but this essay, as well as the themes expressed in other essays, inspired a perspective on the entire seder experience which was new to me and changed the way I understand the "duties of the day." The mitzvah of sipur yetzias Mitzrayim is in fact a two-way street. It is well known and much discussed that we must do our best to transport ourselves back to the great redemption from the hands of Egyptian servitude - "chayav adam lir'os/lehar'os es atzmo..." We need to imagine ourselves there. However, at the same time, we need to "bring the geulah to us." We need to understand that yetzias Mitzrayim is nothing short of a blueprint for HaShem's constant Divine intervention on our behalf. This is perhaps made most evident by the "Vehi She'amdah" passage where we declare that it was not just in that generation but in every generation that our very existence hangs in the balance and HaShem ensures that we survive and endure.

Just as the Dayeinu song expresses the ultimate purpose and completion of our exodus as the acceptance of the Torah and settling of Eretz Yisrael, statements such as "lashanah haba'ah b'nei chorin" and the themes found in the songs of Nirtzah express our trust and our yearning for our ultimate redemption, may it come speedily in our day.

Have a good Shabbos and a chag kasher ve'sameiach!

For a collection of previous seder night shtikles, please check out my archive of past Seder shtikles