The Power Of Pesach

Words to live


By Rabbi Yosef Galimidi

The celebration of Pesach is probably the most observed holiday of the Jewish calendar. What special powers does Pesach contain that make it so unique? There are three things to look at:

RESET Remove all impurities and start clean.

Perhaps the message of Pesach is as follows: Pesach reminds us of our slavery in Egypt, but also is our first redemption. From this we can infer that during Pesach the Jewish nation is born; the start of a new beginning. We can further understand this from the following interesting lesson:

In Hebrew, Egypt is known as Mitzrayim, but the same letters with different vowels can be read Metzareem, or narrowness. In the book of Tehilim, 118:5, in the Hallel, which we will read throughout Pesach, David Hamelech states, “Meen hametzar karatee kah,” which translates as, “From the narrowness [of distress] I called upon you, H-shem.”

A’nanee, bamerchab kah”: you answered me with great amplitude, with the breath of Divine relief. Pesach can be considered a reset button to our lives. We remove all darkness, difficulties and challenging moments, and we bring G-dliness, light into our lives.

RE-ENERGIZE with positive Or (Light): “Or,” the guiding light, reappears during Pesach, reminds us of our positive connection with H-shem and our Faith, and refills us with spiritual energy. The first Mishna in the volume of Pesahim starts with the following statement: “Or Le’arba’a Asar, to the light of the fourteenth of the month of Nissan [the evening before Pesach during which we conduct Bedikat Hametz], we search the Hametz; to the light of the candle.”

In analyzing this statement, the Talmud in Pesahim 2A asks: What is the meaning of the word Or? Should we conduct the search during the day or during the night? The conclusion is that although one would assume “Or” refers to the daylight, it actually means night. If so, why does the Mishna not start with the world Laila, which means night? The Gemara answers, to teach us a most essential lesson: that a person should never say something inappropriate, unpleasant or negative, and the word Laila implies darkness.

With this we are able to understand the following: “Or” is the essence of Pesach. With the celebration of Pesach, we derive energy for the whole year. REJOICE with food for the soul: Matzah may be thin, but it is rich in meaning and spirituality. The Zohar in Shelah writes a very interesting concept about Hametz & Matzah.

Hametz: The rising of the Hametz represent Ga’avah, arrogance, connected to the Yezter Ha’ra, evil inclination.

Matzah: The thinness of the Matzah represents humbleness, connected to the Yetzer Hatov, good instinct.

Asks the Zohar, if this is the case, why does the Torah not prohibit the consumption of Hametz all year long, like other prohibitions of the Torah? The Zohar answers: One week of Matzah has an effect on the Neshama (soul) of the person that lasts for the whole year. The proof of this can be seen in the holiday following Pesach, which is Shavuot. The Yom Tov of Shavuot has an additional Korban called Shete Hale’hem, the offering of two loaves of bread (Hametz). The message of the Torah is that as long as the person is connected to the Torah, he has the tools to fight against the evil inclination. The Zohar calls the Matzah: “The Food of Faith, the Food of Healing”.

Let’s all enter Pesach with a will to reset, re-energize and rejoice. May H-shem let us the start the new beginning with a clean slate; let us light the flame that will guide us closer to our faith and let us fill our bellies and our souls with the food of healing.

Best wishes for a Pesah Kasher Ve’Same’ah, Tizku Leshaneem Rabbot.