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Friday, April 18

The Weekly Shtikle - Acharei Mos / Seder Night

My apologies for the late shtikle, especially to the readers from Eretz Yisroel.
     This year we have the relatively anomalous occurrence of Erev Pesach falling out on Shabbos. Although this has been happening slightly more frequently of late, it will be another 13 years until it happens again. This can only happen on Parshas Tzav in a regular year or Acharei Mos on a leap year. As we have mentioned numerous times, the juxtaposition of the various weekly Torah readings and the different holidays of the year is no coincidence. Since Acharei Mos is one of only two parshios that can be read on Erev Pesach, surely there must be a correlation.
    I believe the connection is found towards the end of the parsha when the various illicit relations are discussed. The Torah could simply have stated "Do not do such-and-such." However, there is a very deliberate preface to the commandments: (18:3) "Do not do like the deeds of the land of Egypt where you dwelled, nor like the land of Cana'an where I am bringing you." One of the popular themes in the discussion of Yetzias Mitzrayim is why the subjugation was necessary in the first place. This pasuk gives us another insight into that topic. While it would be nice to be able to rely on positive enforcement but unfortunately, human nature does not lend itself to such methods being successful exclusively. Indeed, we find that the Torah mandates that various capital punishments be meted out publicly so as to serve as a deterrent for others. Unfortunately, it is natural for humans to require some negative reinforcement from time to time.
    In our experiences in Mitzrayim we find a very precise balance of both positive and negative encouragement. At the seder, we teach (Shemos 13:8) "Baavur zeh asah HaShem li be'tzeisi miMitzrayim." We were taken out of Mitzrayim on the merit of properly fulfilling the mitzvos of the Korban Pesach. At the same time, we observed the complete destruction of the ever-powerful Egyptian empire. This allowed us to understand their evil deeds and why they deserved to be destroyed. This, in turn, helps us to understand the gravity and seriousness of the mitzvos.
The usual installment for the Motzaei Shabbos seder:
    Aside from all the unique pre-Pesach adjustments that are necessary this year, there are some modifications to the Pesach night routine as well. At least according to some. At the end of the Maggid portion of the seder, we recite a brachah which begins with a show of gratitude for the exodus from Mitzrayim and ends with a prayer for the ultimate redemption. We pray that HaShem bring us to celebrate holidays, joyous in the building of His city, Yerushalayim, and exultant in His service, "venochal sham min hazevachim umin hapescahim," and there we shall eat from the sacrifices and the korban Pesach " The reason for this order, as documented by the commentaries, is that the word "zevachim" refers to the korban chagigah that was brought before Yom Tov. The chagigah was eaten before the korban Pesach because the korban Pesach was to be eaten on a full stomach. Therefore, we mention the zevachim first and then the pesachim.

    The Ba"ch and Ta"z (in their commentaries on the Tur and Shulchan Aruch respectively, end of 473) write that when the seder is on Motzaei Shabbos, the order is switched. The preparation of the korban Pesach supercedes Shabbos but the preparation of the chagigah does not. Therefore, the chagigah is not brought on Erev Pesach when it is Shabbos but rather on the first day of Yom Tov. Thus, we change the phrase to "min hapesachim umin hazevachim," as indicated in most haggados. R' Yechiel Michel Epstein, in Aruch HaShulchan, also indicates this change. However, support for this custom which lasted for many generations, seemed to have ended right there.

    The Aruch HaShulchan's own son, R' Baruch Epstein speaks out very strongly against this custom. In his sefer Mekor Baruch and his haggadah, he argues that since this prayer is referring to the year to come, there is no reason to flip the order this year. Rather, it would make more sense to do so on the year before a year when Pesach comes out on Motzaei Shabbos. He also points out that although the later commentaries do mention the switch, the practices and customs of the seder night are covered exhaustively in the mishnah, gemara and early commentaries such as Rambam and Kol Bo. And there is absolutely no mention of this custom whatsoever, not even in the Shulchan Aruch.

    The Sha'ar HaTziun (473:80) also references the Ta"z but quotes another source that argues with this custom based on the reasoning that we are saying it in the wrong year. It is not clear what the Sha'ar HaTziun's conclusion is on the matter but R' Dovid Feinstein, in his haggadah Kol Dodi infers that he does not hold of the switch and thus, he, too, writes that the order should not be reversed. R' Chayim Kunyevsky, in Orchos Rabbeinu, writes that the Chazon Ish did not reverse the order either. On the Chasidish side of the spectrum, the Satmer Rav, Shulchan Aruch HaRav and Minchas El'azar also write not to change the order. Despite previous endorsement of this custom, it seems the entire gamut of halachic authorities of the past century do not support it.

    The question remains, if this whole custom is a mistake, how did it come about? R' Baruch Epstein and R' Reuven Margolios write in their respective haggados that this whole custom came about due to a printing error. The source for the text of the brachah is mishnah 7:10 in Pesachim. There it reads "min hazevachim umin hapesachim." However, in the mishnah that appears in the gemara the order is switched. In some haggadah long ago there was a note on the side that indicated this difference. It was probably expressed in some acronym such as beis-mem- shin for "bemishnah shebatalmud..." Somewhere along the line it was misinterpreted to mean "bemotzaei Shabbos." Since there was theoretically a logical reason behind the change, it took off and spread from haggadah to haggadah and now it appears in most of the haggados out there.

Have a good Shabbos and a chag kasher ve'samei'ach!!

Eliezer Bulka



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