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Thursday, April 5

The Weekly Shtikle - Pesach

A hearty Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Yisroel & Hindy Yeres on the birth of a baby boy just before Pesach began, with the bris scheduled for the first of the last days of yom tov, IY"H. Mazal tov to the extended Yeres, Frankel and Meisels families.

 

While refraining from all leavened products for a week or so always proves to be quite the undertaking, in the Beis HaMikdash, it was the norm, with only a few exceptions. As we read a number of weeks ago, we are told (Vaikra 2:11) that all mincha offerings must be free of any leaven or sweetener. Allegorically, we find in the gemara (Berachos 17a) that se'or, leaven, is commonly associated with the yeitzer hara. However, Netziv in Haamek Davar offers another understanding of se'or and why it is forbidden on the mizbei'ach and relates it to Pesach as well.

 

The process of making bread will always require a significant degree of human contribution to process wheat into flour and then dough and then to bake it. However, the addition of a leavening agent represents an added degree of meddling with the natural process to alter the final product. The complete absence of all leaven represents the refraining from trying to inject our own intervention to manipulate the nature that HaShem has put in place, rather than letting things be to take their own Divine path.

 

Certainly, in the Beis HaMikdash, where our primary goal is to become closer to HaShem, it is appropriate to minimize our own machinations and submit ourselves to the will of HaShem. That is why leaven is not appropriate. As Netziv continues to explain, this is similarly the theme of the yom tov of Pesach – the rooting of emunah in HaShem in the collective hearts of our nation. With very little action on our part, we were witnesses to unimaginable miracles leading to our exodus from Mitzrayim.

 

Rabbi Moshe Hauer (audio link, start at 24:38 mark) discusses this idea in a shiur on Netziv and extrapolates it to extend throughout Pesach to the last days of yom tov when we commemorate the splitting of Yam Suf. There too, amidst all of the panic in the wake of the steadily advancing Egyptian army at the apparent dead end, Moshe commands the nation (Shemos 14:13) not to fear but rather, to simply stand and witness HaShem's great deliverance. What better time to drive home this message for the ages than the end of a full week without any bread.


Have a Chag Samei'ach and Good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: Omer Counting in Different Bases
Dikdukian: Exceptions Ahoy!

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