Beit Midrash

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Post-Pesach Reflections on Redemption

Pesach is over - but we have permanently absorbed yet another portion of freedom. Yet another peel of Exile has been removed from us. We have shed yet another layer of self-nullification before others, and of blind admiration of customs found in the nations of the West or the Far East. We have grown stronger in getting to know ourselves, in healthy self-confidence, and in appreciation of the value of the People of Israel and its great destiny to shine the light of G-d throughout the world

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Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Nissan 28 5782
Translated by Hillel Fendel

The atmosphere of freedom of the Festival of Freedom, Passover, will yet remain with us many days after the holiday has ended. What does this atmosphere include? It includes the feelings of joy and well-being that we experienced during the times of the Exodus – a sense of release and liberation from the subjugation that was both spiritual and physical.

We left Egypt over 3,300 years ago to eternal, supreme freedom - freedom from any diminution of a human worldview. With the Exodus, we went out into the infinite expanse of Divine faith in one G-d. We not only rose from the foolishness of Egyptian paganism to what seemed to be a new man-made philosophy, but we were actually uplifted much higher. In truth, Hashem our G-d elevated us to a superhuman conception of faith, to a world-view that is Divine. We came out of darkness into a great light, and from impurity to supreme holiness.

This jump from enslavement to redemption happens to us every year on Pesach. Every year at this time, the Redemption from Egypt is renewed within us – within the innermost worlds of each person, within his soul. Some very unique people are able to truly feel, with their physical senses, this inner, soul-based experience. But for most people, this takes place deep within them in a manner that is hidden even from them.

All the laws and practices of Pesach – the eating of matzah all week, the prohibition of chametz, the Seder night, the story of the Exodus, and all the accompanying customs – are fine-tuned to perfectly fit with that which is going on deep inside us at this time, within our souls. The Passover holiday suits the Jewish soul seamlessly.

The spiritual upliftment during the days of Passover leaves behind a permanent impression that lasts way beyond the holiday itself. The status of our soul before Pesach cannot be compared to its state after the holiday, and this is true both for individual Jews and for the nation as a collective. The Nation of Israel departs from the holiday of Pesach with renewed strengths, with empowerment of holiness that uplifts and sanctifies that which is profane.

Pesach is over – but we have permanently absorbed yet another portion of freedom. Yet another peel of Exile has been removed from us. We have shed yet another layer of self-nullification before others, and of blind admiration of customs found in the nations of the West or the Far East. We have grown stronger in getting to know ourselves, in healthy self-confidence, and in appreciation of the value of the People of Israel and its great destiny to shine the light of G-d throughout the world.

The final, complete Geula (Redemption) is one of both body and spirit. There can be no true redemption of the body without a redemption of the soul, nor vice-versa. Our aspiration for our complete Land of Israel (a physical redemption) and our ambition for a complete revelation of Torah in Israel (a spiritual redemption) are one and the same! When we seek Geula, we seek both of these.

The festivals of Pesach and Shavuot are connected to each other; the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah are one. As such, when we leave Pesach, the Festival of Freedom, on our way to Shavuot, the Festival of Torah, we are full of energy and motivation to work on behalf of our full Redemption, physically and spiritually. We can struggle excitedly for our entire Land of Israel, that it – and ourselves along with it – be released from dependence on others. For we are returning to our own historic homeland, the land of our forefathers, the land of G-d. We are also returning to ourselves, to our soul, to Hashem our G-d and His Torah.

G-d is with us, and with His help, we will overcome all the obstacles on our way to full Geula.

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