Insights on the Pesach Holiday

1. A foundation in our faith:[1]

The celebration of the Passover Holiday is a great pillar and foundation within our Torah and in our faith. The Exodus was a nature breaking miracle and wonder. It was in Egypt that we saw G-d’s eternal powers revealed; His ability to override nature and do as He sees fit. It was the one time we witnessed as a nation the works of the supernal primordial Being. It is thus no wonder that Passover serves as an awakening of these memories which strengthen our faith and trust in G-d above.

 

2. Pesach is Ratzo-Electric passion of the G-dly soul:[2]

On Pesach, we experience the Divine service of Ratzo, while on Shavuos we experience the Divine service of Shuv. Literally, Ratzo means “to run,” while Shuv means to sit, two opposite states of man. We left Egypt in a state of Chipazon/hurry, being rushed to exit without enough time to even leaven our bread. This physical occurrence was a result of the spiritual exodus that we experienced when we left Egypt. At the time of the Exodus, upon leaving Egypt, Hashem Himself was revealed to us. This caused a revolution within our spiritual state. Our souls and revealed consciousness went from a state of complete distance from G-d, having been entrenched within the 49 gates of impurity of sin and idolatry, to a state of ecstatic love and passion for G-d. In moments, we leaped from the state of a sinner to the state of a Tzaddik, which culminated seven days later with the experience of prophecy by even the maidservants of the nation. This is the spiritual state of Ratzo, the spiritual exodus to instantly escape evil without any dialogue or twelve-step programs.  

 

3. The daily Yetzias Mitzrayim-Exodus from Egypt:[3]

The exodus from Egypt plays a major role in our spiritual duties and commandments today. We are commanded to remember the Exodus daily and perform many Mitzvos in memory of the Exodus. The reason for this is not just in order to remember G-d’s kindness, but mainly to serve as a message that in truth the Exodus has not yet come to a closure, and in fact we are obligated to daily perform our own spiritual exodus and escape the concealments and setbacks caused by our animal soul. This is directly noted in the saying of the Sages that, “In every generation one must view himself as if he left Egypt”, as in truth each day we must re-experience the Exodus. How is this accomplished? Through the Divine service of prayer, in which one contemplates G-dly matters and arouses within his heart a passionate fire of attachment to G-d. In truth, a Jew is able to reach a state of love and passion for G-d that is fierier than any relationship imaginable, including the relationship between a man and woman. [In the Rambam’s words [Teshuvah 1:3]: “What is the befitting love of G-d? That one love G-d with a great and powerful exploding love, to the point that his mind is not free for any other matter. He is constantly involved in his feeling of love for G-d, similar to a man that is infatuated with the love of a certain woman, and he constantly thinks of her wherever he goes and throughout whatever he is doing. When he eats, she is on his mind and heart, when he sleeps, she is on his mind and heart. All the more so is one able to reach an infatuation for the attachment to Hashem, as it says in the verse, “Bechol levavcha:With all your heart”. On this love, King Shlomo stated, “I am sickly in love”, and as an expression of this infatuation he authored the song of Shir Hashirim.”] This feeling lays dormant within the Jew throughout the day and can only be aroused through deep concentration and vivid contemplation on G-d’s greatness, which brings him to this state of ecstatic feelings of love. This is experienced during prayer, upon reciting the words in the Shema prayer of Bechol Levavcha Ubechol Nafshicha. This is called Yetzias Mitzrayim, as one leaves the constraints and concealments that the animal soul causes to those feelings, and now fully expresses them, breaking through all the barriers and obstructions.   

 

4. Being careful from Chametz protects one from sin:

The Arizal[4] states that one who is careful to avoid even a small amount of Chametz is guaranteed not to sin throughout the year. [This means that his nature will change to the point that he will not naturally do a sin inadvertently. However, regarding sinning advertently, one always retains his freedom of choice.[5]]

 

5. The Yetzer Hara:

Chametz represents the Yetzer Hara.[6] Just as Chametz is defined as bread that has risen, so too, the Yetzer Hara derives from haughtiness.

 

6. Working on one’s character:[7]

The entire idea of cleaning the house for Chametz is to get rid of bad traits. [Accordingly, one is to take extra precaution on Pesach, and during Pesach preparations, to rid oneself of any bad traits of haughtiness, anger, and the like.]

 

7. The Holiness of the Job of cleaning for Pesach:[8]

From the following incident, it is understood that the job of cleaning the home for Pesach carries tremendous holiness: It occurred one year on Rosh Hashanah, after Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchiv blew the Shofar, that he exclaimed “Sweet Father, if the angels which were created from the Shofar blowing of Levi Yitzchak the son of Sara are weak, let the holy and healthy angels which were created from the hard work and toil of your people before Pesach, in which they scrubbed, smoothened and Kashered in honor of Pesach and for Hiddur Mitzvah; let those angels come and appease you.”

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[1] Chinuch Mitzvah 21

[2] Mamar “Usifartem Lachem.…” Likkutei Torah p. 35

[3] Mamar “Usifartem Lachem.…” Likkutei Torah p. 35

[4] Mishnas Chassidim Nissan 3:4; Brought in Beir Heiytiv 467:1; Shaalos and Teshuvos of Admur 6

[5] Likkutei Sichos Vayikra 3 p. 945

[6] Zohar Shemos 40b “Chametz is the Yetzer Hara”; Radbaz 3:546; Shelah Hakadosh Bo; See also Kad Hakemech [Rabbeinu Bechayeh] Pesach; Toras Moshe [Alshich] Shemos 12:13

[7] Shelah Hakadosh Bo

[8] Likkutei Dibburim 180

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