Chapter: 1-The Meaning of the Holiday

1. The Festival of Matzot and the Festival of Pesaĥ

The holiday of Pesaĥ has two different names in the Torah: Ĥag Ha-matzot (the Festival of Matzot)[1] and Ĥag Ha-Pesaĥ (the Paschal festival, or Passover).[2] These two names express two different meanings of the holiday: Ĥag Ha-matzot represents the revelation of … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 1. The Festival of Matzot and the Festival of Pesaĥ

2. The Festival of Freedom – the Revelation of Morality

Why did the people of Israel, before their appearance as a nation, first have to endure such terrible slavery in Egypt? The simple explanation is that Israel’s mission is to rectify the moral state of the world, and in order … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 2. The Festival of Freedom – the Revelation of Morality

3. Spiritual liberation from Material Enslavement

Israel and Egypt are diametrically opposed. Egypt was an extremely materialistic society with a pagan worldview. The nation of Israel, on the other hand, is unique with its spiritual and abstract worldview. Thus, only Israel was able to accept the … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 3. Spiritual liberation from Material Enslavement

4. At the Exodus, the Material World Became a Vehicle for God’s Shekhina

The way this world is ordered, its material aspects gain prominence first and easily reach their complete, powerful expression. Spiritual elements, however, remain hidden; it takes a long time before their significance becomes discernible. It was thus natural that the … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 4. At the Exodus, the Material World Became a Vehicle for God’s Shekhina

5. The Meaning of the Prohibition against Ĥametz – Pride in Relation to God

The prohibition against ĥametz on Pesaĥ is especially stringent, for the Torah not only forbade eating it, but commanded that it not be seen nor found in our possession. Our Sages further forbade eating any food with even the slightest … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 5. The Meaning of the Prohibition against Ĥametz – Pride in Relation to God

6. The Meaning of Matza

Matza, symbolizing our recognition that the spiritual roots of things are beyond our grasp even though God granted us the ability to operate within and improve the world, is the opposite of ĥametz. Therefore, on Pesaĥ, when we are engaged … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 6. The Meaning of Matza

7. One Who Demeans the Holy Days

An important principle is articulated in Mishna Avot (3:11): “Rabbi Elazar Ha-Moda’i says: ‘One who desecrates holy foods, one who demeans the holy days … and one who expounds the Torah not in accordance with halakha, even if he has … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 7. One Who Demeans the Holy Days

8. One Inquires about the Laws of Pesaĥ Beginning Thirty Days before Pesaĥ

We inquire about and expound upon the laws of Pesaĥ beginning thirty days before Pesaĥ. We learn this from Moshe, who on Pesaĥ itself explained the matter of Pesaĥ Sheni, the make-up date for those unable to bring the Paschal … Continue reading

Posted in 1-The Meaning of the Holiday | Comments Off on 8. One Inquires about the Laws of Pesaĥ Beginning Thirty Days before Pesaĥ