'פסח שמח' על חומות העיר העתיקה
'פסח שמח' על חומות העיר העתיקהצילום: אלרון זבטני/TPS
On Wednesday night, thank G-d, we sat down with those near and dear to us, to celebrate the festival of Pesach.Those Jews in the Diaspora, repeated the seder on Thursday night.

As in every year - we joyously performed the Mitzvot of the night, prime amongst them, the Mitzvah of Magid:relating the story of the Exodus from Egypt, all those thousand of years ago, AND giving praise to Hashem for the redemption.

May we this year, share a different understanding of these wondrous events, as we look back at our recounting them at the seder and repeating them in our morning prayers.

The redemption - indeed all the events leading to the Exodus - were wrought by Hashem for the sake of our relation of the story, as we did at our seder.

This can be learned from an examination of the parsha of the בן הרשע: the Wicked son.

We read in the Haggadah: ‘The wicked son - what does he say? ‘Of what purpose is this work to you? He says:’To you’, thereby excluding himself from the community (of the believers), he denies the basic principle of Judaism. Therefore blunt his teeth and tell him:’It is because of this that Hashem did so for me when I went out of Egypt ‘. ‘For me’, but not for him - had he been there, he would not have been redeemed.’

The answer given to the wicked son, is from the passuk:(Bo 13:8):’And you shall tell your son on that day, saying:’It is because of this that Hashem acted on my behalf when I left Egypt.’

The Haggadah makes clear that the words ‘on that day’ - in the answer to the wicked son - allude to the seder night, as it rhetorically asks: What is the meaning of: ‘On that day’ - and answers: ‘When matzah and maror lie before you - at the Seder.’

Asks the Ritva: What is the underlying meaning of the key words, of the wicked son, which are said to lead to him not having been redeemed had he been in Egypt:’מה העבודה הזאת לכם: ‘What is the purpose of this work to you?’.

He brings the exposition of our Sages on these words (Yerushalmi Pesachim 10, 4) :’What is this טורח: bother that you go to each year at the Seder, delaying the meal, and ‘mixing’ in the joy of the Chag? because the wicked, in their haughtiness, will not deign to expound on the Exodus - and, as he said: ‘To you’, and not ‘to us’, he removed himself from the community, and denied a basic principle of our faith, as he thereby declares that he is not commanded in this matter.’

The Torat Chaim comments:’it is clear that the טורח: ‘bother’ alluded to, is the relating of the Haggadah, as, due to it, the seudah is delayed.’

And here we ask: Why because of this, would the wicked son - as we tell him - ‘had he been there’ - in Egypt - ‘not have been redeemed’?

The answer is found in a Midrash: ( Midrash Tehillim 44):’So that you may relate in the ears of your son’: From here we learn that there were no merits in the hands of Bnei Israel when they left Egypt, to be worthy of redemption - not in the merit of the deeds of the Avot, and not their own meritorious deeds was the sea split before them, only to ‘make a name’ for Hashem in the world.

‘When Bnei Israel were redeemed from Egypt, Moshe said to them: Not in the merit of your deeds are you being redeemed, but ‘so that you may relate in the ears of your son’, to give praise to Hashem, that His sons are relating his praise amongst the nations’.

We find an allusion to this, in the answer to the wicked son: The rebuke: ‘it is because of this that Hashem did so for me when I went out of Egypt’, is the ending of the passuk in Parashat Bo, the preceding words being:’And you shall tell your son on that day, saying:’It is because..’.
In his answer to the wicked son, therefore, the father is fulfilling the obligation of the passuk.

The clearest proof of our suggestion, however, is explicit in an earlier passuk, in Parashat Bo:(19:1-2) ‘Hashem said to Moshe:’Come to Pharoah, for I have made his heart and the heart of his servants stubborn so that I can put these signs of Mine in his midst; AND so that you may relate in the ears of your son and your son’s son that I made a mockery of Egypt, and My signs that I placed among them - that you may know that I am Hashem.’

Expounds Rav Pinchas Halevi Horowitz, the Baal Hafla’ah: ‘The words: ‘so that you may relate in the ears of your son..’ teach that the miracles and signs that Hashem performed in Egypt, were in the merit of the Mitzvot that the future generations would perform, by observing the Mitzvah of relating the story of the redemption from Egypt.

‘This is the meaning of what is said: That though Bnei Israel at that time were not worthy of redemption, because of the Mitzvah of relating the story that the future generations would perform, our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt.

‘We can now also understand the admonition to the wicked son, that ‘had he been therem he would not have been redeeemed.’

‘Since the redemption was so that the story would be told, by refusing to do so, the wicked son would not have been redeemed.’

The Torah gives us an ‘explanation’ as to the importance of the generations relating the story, father to son, in stating that, as a result of so doing, (10:2):’you may know that I am Hashem.’

Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl adds:’The Torah is generally very mindful of the honor of even the wicked; thus, as our Sages relate, wnen the ministering angels wanted to say Shira, when they saw the Egyptians drowning in the sea, Hashem admonished them: ‘ My handiwork are drowning, and you want to say Shira!

‘Why then does the Torah state, that, Hashem afflicted the Egyptians, ‘so that you may relate to your son and your son’s son that I made a mockery of Egypt’?

‘The answer is, that, when reading of the events in Egypt, one might conclude that a battle occurred between two forces, and that the outcome proved that Hashem was ‘stronger’ than the Egyptians, as mighty a nation as they were.

‘However, is there any truth in such an understanding? Was there here simply a battle between two competing forces?

‘This is the purpose of the mockery: so that Moshe should say to Bnei Israel, that there was no ‘contest’ - tthe Egyptians were as ‘nought’ before the Creator.

‘This is the message that you, Moshe, are to convey, so that Bnei Israel know, as a result, that ‘I am Hashem’, and ‘there is None but Me!’.

The Netivot Shalom comments:’All who observe the Mitzvah of ‘you shall tell your son’, are promised that they will ‘know that I am Hashem’.

‘The prime Mitzvah of seder night, is to relate the story of the redemption from Egypt, as there is power in the story to instill Emunah in those who hear it, for the entire year.’

The source for this can be found in the Zohar Hakadosh:’When one relates to his children on seder nigh the wonders and miracles that Hashem performed for us in yetziat mitzraim, there is in it a סגולה: a special ‘ability’, to instill in his sons who hear it, Emunah in the Creator.’

The Admor of Belz offers a beautiful chiddush as to the ‘source’of this unique power.

He notes a change in the passuk we brought -it starts in the singular: Hashem said to Moshe: ‘Come to Pharoah..so that you may relate in the ears..’, yet concludes in the plural: ‘וידעתם: that you may know that I am Hashem.’

Expounds the Admor:’Only Moshe could fulfil this command, to relate to his sons, what had occurred, as they were the only ones who were not present when the events occurred, as they were in Midian, with Yitro.

‘All the other children saw these events, as the Torah states: (Yitro 19:4)’You saw that which I did to Egypt.’

‘Since all that occurs is guided by Divine Providence, we have to say, that Hashem ‘caused’ Moshe’s two sons not to be present as the miraculous events unfolded, so that Moshe could be the first one to perform the Mitzvah of relating ‘in the ears of your son’ that which Hashem wrought.

‘Since Moshe did so in the most complete manner possible, with his unmatched kedusha and insight, he thereby infused into the story the power to bring Emunah to all the future generations, who would hear the story, on seder night.’

A parting gem, from the Slonimer Rebbe, the Darchei Noam: We read in the Haggadah:

‘Pesach:..Because Hashem פסח: passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and spared our houses.’

The Rebbe expounds the word פסח homiletically: Our Sages (Shir Hashirim Rabba 2:12) say: ‘Says Hashem: open for Me a פתח:an opening no wider than the hole of a needle, and I will open for you an opening through which wagons may pass.’

‘In Egypt, Hashem פסח: ‘passed over’ even this פתח: the opening from Bnei Israel - as they had no merits whatsoever - and redeemed them.

Wishing you, one and all, Chag Kasher veSameach!

לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.