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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
 
As we prepare for Pesach by scrubbing and cleaning our homes, make sure to make some time a to also prepare yourself spiritually!  Naaleh.com has many shiurim on a variety of Pesach topics to help you prepare. This week we have featured a class to prepare not only ourselves, but our children as well. The class is called Making Pesach Meaningful  and is from the Naaleh series Bringing Torah to Life: Deepening our Children's Jewish Experience. In this class, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller provides guidance and practical tips for making the holiday meaningful and enjoyable for our children. 

To watch this class now and learn more please click on the image below: 
 
 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Parshat Vayikra/Pesach Edition is available on our Newsletter page
Click here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
 
Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein
 
The Mishnah notes that we begin the seder with words describing our disgrace and culminate with words of praise.  Rav and Shemuel dispute whether this refers to our physical disgrace, and thus we begin with the words, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt," or to our spiritual disgrace, with "our forefathers were idolaters."  We follow both opinions, and include both in our recounting. Why do we focus on our negative beginnings on this night of celebration of our redemption?  The words of praise are formulated as "and now Hashem has brought us close to His service."  When is the "now?"
 
 
The Seder is full of contrasting and contradictory symbols. Each symbol alludes to both servitude and freedom, notes Rabbi M. Salomon. We drink four cups of wine, perhaps the ultimate symbol of freedom, yet our rabbis urge us to drink red wine to remind us of the Jewish blood Pharaoh bathed in when he was stricken with leprosy. The matzoh is quintessentially a symbol of both slavery and freedom; it is both the poor man's bread and the quick bread that had no time to rise as we were rushed to freedom. We remember both the pain and the salvation, continues Rabbi Salomon, so that we will increase our gratitude and praise of Hashem.  Both the pain and the salvation included physical and spiritual elements. Hence the twofold beginnings of our story.
 
 
It seems embarrassing to bring up our disgrace. Why do we do it? Rav M. Feinstein explains that many people who reform themselves try to forget their past completely. Yet we understand that there will be times when we may falter in our resolve. During those times we can look back at our inglorious past, note how far we've come, and gain encouragement for the future.
 
Rabbi I. Bernstein notes that we were not a nation born in purity. We had within us the DNA of Terach, Avraham's father, a preeminent idol worshiper. To prevent us from reverting back to these practices, Hashem had to excise the cancer of the allure of those ideas from our psyche. After experiencing the decadence and ugliness of that society, we would not be tempted to fall back. In this context, being slaves in Egypt was the cure for our ancestors and was the beginning of Hashem bringing us close to Him. Therefore, it is appropriate that the marror (bitter herbs) comes last after Pesach (sacrificial lamb) and matzoh , for only after the events of Pesach and matzoh can we appreciate the value of the bitter herbs that represent our enslavement, writes Rabbi G. Schorr.
 
 
" And now..." Hashem does not look at our past, writes Rabbi Spero citing the Chatan Sofer. He brings us closer to Him now, at this moment, irrespective of our past. This is a night of transformation. As Rabbi Biderman notes in Be'er Chaim , constantly dwelling on the past is its own form of worshiping strange gods. This is a time to move forward and cherish the moment of coming closer to Hashem.
 
 
The Sichot Eliyahu describes what happens when one is enslaved. Man was destined to be king on earth, as God is in heaven. Hashem created him in His image with unlimited potential and with the ability to create. Slavery takes that potential and sets constraints upon it. It takes boundless man and confines him. This is what Mitzrayim signifies. Man becomes no better than a beast with no identity of his own but to serve others. When you constantly "go with the flow," you are no more than water without form, constantly being drawn to the fashion, technology, and mores of the times. You have no independent sense of self. A person must first realize that he can have a form of his own. He can break away from the constraints of "everybody" and come closer to Hashem.
 
 
When Hashem created the waters, the upper waters were closer to Hashem and very spiritual. The lower waters originally complained, but soon became content with their lower identity and mission. While the lower waters were involved in so much good, they didn't allow these deeds to affect them, much like our souls that are often involved in so many mitzvot but still remain distant from Hashem. We take the waters for matzah baking and keep it out overnight. It becomes water of reflection as it contemplates its mission. When we ingest the matzah kneaded with this water, we too experience an awakening and a yearning to come closer to Hashem. We can make eating the matzah a spiritual experience that draw us close to the Creator.
 
 
Our Seder ends with the chad gadya /one goat. Rav Leibel Eiger asks why we focus on a goat instead of on a sheep? A sheep is passive, just chomer , material without form or actions of its own. A goat, on the other hand, leaps and moves forward. The night of the Seder is a night of opportunity and growth. Hashem is knocking on our door, asking us to open it for Him. How are we responding?
Pesach: Birth of a Nation- Egypt Part 3 
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Leah Kohn 
 
The night of Pesach is called the seder night. On a physical level, it seems almost contradictory. So many things are different on this night. In fact, the essence of the night is that it's not orderly. When the Jewish people left Egypt they were on 49th level of impurity. They didn't deserve to be redeemed. The holiday is called Pesach, meaning to skip over, because Hashem was medaleg al heharim, he skipped over the rules. He didn't consider what level the Jews were at in order to take them out and bring the world to its purpose. Why then do we call it the night of order? The Maharal says it was a night of miracles.
 
We tend to think of miracles as something out of the order but fact the system functions by order. On the night of Pesach we entered a different order. The system of miracles is also a system. Just as the laws of nature follow a certain pattern, miracles follow a specific protocol. Just as nature is a reality, there is a spiritual reality. In the physical realm we have the laws of nature, but it doesn't always have to be like this. Sometimes Hashem will create miracles to show us who runs nature. When a person elevates himself, he enters a different realm and Hashem will deal with him in a different way. This is what happened to the Jews in Egypt. When they became a nation they made their true reality a spiritual reality. The laws of nature that applied to them still apply to us today and are different than the laws that apply to all of the other nations. That is the simple explanation of why we still exist. The true desirable order is the way Hashem deals with us.
 
Although the laws of nature were in place from creation until Avraham, our sages call these first 2000 years of history "the years of chaos" because they did not possess the right order. That order was created when the Jews left Egypt and was finalized at the giving of the Torah. What we do affects the laws of nature, as the Torah points out many times. "One of you will overcome a thousand and a hundred can overcome ten thousand." There's order, but it is a different kind of order and it operates precisely according to the spiritual reality that we create. And there are endless spiritual realities which go higher and higher and for each reality there are a set of rules. We call Pesach the night of order because on this night there was a change in the world's order. During the first two thousand years Hashem ran the show by himself. Mankind didn't come to a point where they could do so. After the Exodus, a nation was created that could control nature through their actions.
 
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shoshie Nissenbaum

The Sharei Teshuva refers to repentance as a chok , a mitzvah we don't understand. How can a person erase an action that was already done? How can he transform wrongdoings into merits? The Gemara tells the story of the daughter of Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa who came crying to her father that she had accidentally used vinegar instead of oil to light her Shabbat candles.

This can be explained on an allegorical level. Either she hinted that she had ruined her shalom bayit (domestic peace) by her harsh words. Instead of speaking positively and creating warmth and light she had soured her relationship. Or she indicated this about her children. She had precipitated an atmosphere of bitterness instead of one filled with joy and passion. Rabbi Chanina assuaged her. Just as Hashem can make vinegar ignite, he can enable her to repair that which she had destroyed.

In Parshat Chukot the pasuk says, " Vayedaber el Moshe v'Aharon leimor zot chukat haTorah asher tziva Hashem leimor ." The Avodas Yisrael points out that leimor is written twice, the first time to teach us the mitzvah and the second time to teach us that each time we read about the parah adumah, we bring purity and atonement upon ourselves. The Beit Aharon notes that a person in the time of the Beit Hamikdash had to believe that the ashes of the red heifer purified him and subsequently allowed him to bring the Pesach sacrifice. Similarly, every Jew must believe that by reading about the parah adumah he attains a measure of purity.

After the sin of the tree of knowledge, death came into the world. It was removed at the time of the giving of the Torah and reintroduced after cheit haegel . The sprinkling of the ashes of the parah adumah purified anyone who encountered a dead body. A dead body symbolizes the end, something unfixable. But in truth it's not so. The soul lives on and will be resurrected when Moshiach comes. The parah adumah represents this deep cleansing of one's thoughts, the idea of hope and the eternity of the soul.
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Please visit our Refua Shleima Page for a current list of Cholim.
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