Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • The Seder Night
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

Hastening the Redemption on Seder Night

In the wake of Napoleon's fall, the Seer of Lublin tried to hasten the final redemption. The time chosen by him to do this was Seder Night, for, in the words Sages, “In Nisan they were redeemed, and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the future.”


Rabbi Aryeh Hendler

Chassidic Jews relate that in the year 5574 (1814), when Napoleon's fall and subsequent sentence to Elba Island became known to the world, the Jews of Poland, who had been waiting with great anticipation for the advent of the Messiah, felt as if their expectations had been dashed before their very eyes. All of their glittering hopes of Gog and Magog and the Messianic Age vanished into the abyss and despair began to grip their hearts. The nation of Israel was already exhausted under the yoke of the Exile and the weight of its terrible decrees, and after these events, which shook the earth's foundations, they yearned for freedom and respite.

Legend has it that the Seer of Lublin viewed this as the right time to expedite the final redemption. It was springtime, before Passover, and, as our sages teach, "In Nisan (the Hebrew month which corresponds to the beginning of spring) Israel was redeemed and in Nisan Israel will again be redeemed in the future." The Seer of Lublin received the assistance of three sages - R' Isaac'l of Kalov, "the Holy Jew," and R' Mordecai of Chernobyl - who would also devote themselves in the necessary manner and help him bring the Messiah.

On the first night of Passover, during the course of the Seder, as the the Seer and his students sat in unification and mitigating rectification, the Rebbe suddenly said, "Everything is ruined. The wife of the Holy Jew, Sheindel, is ill-treating her husband, violating the joy of the holiday and preventing him from occupying himself with the hastening of the redemption. R' Isaac'l from Kalov is relating the Hagadah in Hungarian, and in Chernobyl the Afikoman is lost and they are busy looking for it.

World Wars generally strengthened the desire of the Jews to experience the coming of the Messiah. The World War between Napoleon and Russia became a strong focal point in the lives of Jews, for it was played out within the view of many Jewish settlements. It is well known that there was disagreement between the leading rebbes of this period on the matter of who to side with, the Russians or the French.

And so, just as Jewish soldiers of the warring armies found themselves pit against one another on the battlefield, so did Israel's spiritual leaders find themselves at war amongst themselves in the spiritual arena - some lending spiritual support to the Czar, others giving spiritual support to Napoleon. Napoleon's defeat spelled disappointment to those who believed that the great battle of Gog and Magog was playing itself out before their very eyes. During these moments of crisis, the Seer of Lublin tried, on a practical level, to hasten the final redemption.

The time chosen by him to do this was Seder Night. The adage of the Sages, "In Nisan they were redeemed, and in Nisan they will again be redeemed in the future," teaches us of a certain periodicy in the yearly cycle, periodicy of a time which is capable of bringing the redemption. During these days, the power of redemption is awakened, most clearly on Seder Night, the night on which we recall with our own mouths the complete story of the Exodus. The Seer of Lublin does not carry this out alone; he is aided by three other pious rabbis. The joint efforts of these righteous men can bring the complete redemption.

Everything failed as a result of three different events which took place separately in the homes of these three righteous men. Each of these events has symbolic significance. From Chassidic stories, it is well known that the wife of "the Holy Jew" was a hard woman. Violation of peace in the home on Seder Night has symbolic significance in view of the fact that the redemption is often portrayed as a meeting between husband and wife. This disturbance of peace in the home, then, teaches us that, apparently, we must remain in the Exile.

The reading of the Hagadah by R' Isaac'l of Kalov in Hungarian recalls the words of the Sages regarding the Children of Israel who were redeemed from Egypt by merit of the fact that they did not change their names, their dress, or their language. A change of language symbolizes the fact that, apparently, the Exile still has control over the Jewish People, and an end to the tribulations has not yet arrived.

The Afikoman also has symbolic importance in relation to the redemption. The Afikoman symbolizes the end of the Seder, and, conceptually, the final stage of the redemption. The fact that the Afikoman was lost teaches us that, apparently, we have not yet arrived at the final redemption. Apparently, we must continue to wait for the end of the process.

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