Friday, March 30, 2007

Haggadah Insights 2007 II

Adapted from this shiur given by R' Shalom Rosner at YU (Maareh Makomos here).

To read more of R' Rosner's insights into the Haggadah, click here.

V’hee She’amdah

It tells us in this verse that there hasn’t been just one person in history that has wanted to destroy us; rather, in each generation there are individual/s that want to see our destruction. However, on Pesach night, our emphasis is on our slavery in Egypt and subsequent redemption. Doesn’t it cheapen things to talk about how this wasn’t a one time occurrence and how others wanted us dead as well? The sefer “Kimotzei Shalal Rav” quotes a Teshuvos Ginas Bisan, who explains in the following manner: G-d promised us in Vayikra that the Jewish people would never be destroyed, and this was also something that Avraham was promised. Thus, whenever those individuals in every generation attempt to destroy us we are saved by the aforementioned promises that we will be saved. However, Pesach was different; Pharaoh didn’t want to destroy ALL of us – only the males. Thus, we were not in a situation where we could rely on the promise of Hashem. Nevertheless, Hashem saved us, even though it was a situation in which he wasn’t bound to. Thus, we see that the mention of others that want to destroy us comes not to cheapen what happened in Mitzrayim, but rather to strengthen our call for praise to Hashem.

Amaleinu – Eilu haBanim

Rashi tells us that because they saved the Jewish male babies, Shifra and Puah were rewarded with having Kohanim, Leviim, and kingship as descendents. We know we have the concept of people being rewarded “Middah K’neged Middah”/measure for measure, so how was this reward commensurate with their actions? The Brisker Rav explains in the following manner: whether or not a child is Jewish is dependent on the mother. Thus, Pharoah wasn’t trying to eliminate the Jews entirely, as he would need to kill off the women for that. However, a person gets his yichus/lineage (Kohen, Levi, etc) from their father. We therefore see that Pharoah was trying to eliminate the concept of yichus within the Jewish people. It now makes sense that Shifra and Puah were rewarded with Kohanim and Leviim, because without them, they wouldn’t exist.

Datzah, Adash, V’achav

If we already said what the 10 plagues were, why do we need to abbreviate them? The Minchas Chein answers by bringing the answer to a question originally asked by the Keren Li’David. He asks why Purim was set on the 14th and 15th if really we had won the war before then. Shouldn’t we observe Purim on the day that we were saved from the evil Haman? The Minchas Chein answers by saying that as Jews, we don’t consider ourselves murderers or warriors – we only fight when we have to. We would lead very happy lives if we knew that nobody would ever bother us and we could lead our lives as frum Jews in peace and harmony. Thus, it’s not the military victory that we celebrate but the ensuing menucha/rest. The same applies here in the Haggadah with the abbreviation; we are saying that it isn’t the individual plagues and hurt upon the Egyptians that we’re focused on, but rather the ensuing period where G-d’s glory was revealed to the world.

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