April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Diligent Efforts Bring About the Rewards of Pesach

One of my good friends owns a takeout food business. He told me his most profitable season is pre-Pesach, as many people purchase takeout food while they clean and prepare for Pesach. During the Yom Tov he closes his store and gets to enjoy the time with his family. For him, the Pesach season is not time he takes for granted. He works extremely hard preparing for Pesach while handling his extra pre-Pesach takeout business, and only then can he rest and have precious time with his family on the Yom Tov.

Often at the end of Yom Tov, people say, “I can’t believe Pesach is almost over; it came and went by so quickly.” These words have a much deeper meaning than people realize. Rav Shimshon Pincus says we have an enormous opportunity to develop deep feelings and increased emunah (faith) in Hashem from the Yom Tov of Pesach. Through our observing Pesach, while we contemplate the multiple miracles and kindnesses Hashem showered upon us, we can feel our connection to the Almighty more deeply than ever. However, we need to start seeing the time before Pesach like my friend, the business owner: The great rewards from the holiday only come with hard work and preparation beforehand.

On Pesach last year, my twin grandsons were one and a half years old. They were just learning to speak, so it was hard to understand them as they struggled to formulate words to communicate their wants and feelings. A full year later, they are fully communicative. I look forward to hearing them sing the Mah Nishtanah and to engage with them during the Seder.

The Sefas Emes says the development of the ability to communicate appropriately is a skill gained from Pesach. In Mitzrayim, the Jews screamed, cried and groaned to Hashem, but they couldn’t formulate words of prayer. At the splitting of the sea, however, klal Yisrael eloquently expressed their feelings and emotions in words of song! Amazing!

From the first day of Pesach to the last day of Pesach, we witness a major transition in the relationship of the Bnei Yisrael with Hashem. We transition from being avadim (slaves) to Hashem to becoming children of Hashem, as follows:

On the first day of Pesach, Hashem freed us from bondage to the Egyptians and we instead became avadim to Hashem—as indicated in Hallel: “Hallelu avdei Hashem”—the slaves of Hashem should give praise. The Gemara says that the nature of the praise is that now we are slaves to Hashem…and no longer slaves to Pharaoh.

On the last day of Pesach, when Hashem split the sea for us to pass through, we saw the extra love and care directed to us. This changed our relationship from slaves to “children of Hashem.” We see proof of this in our daily prayers. In the paragraph in Maariv right after Shema, there are many references to Bnei Yisrael during the splitting of the sea as children of Hashem: “Hama’avir banav”—He helped His children pass through; “vera’u banav gevuraso”—His children saw His might; “malchusecha ra’u banecha”—Your children saw Your Kingdom.

Rav Pincus says Pesach is like a birthday. We are children, but one year older. Each year we become more mature and developed in our relationship with Hashem. We become more advanced in our ability to communicate with Hashem, starting with being able to articulate our feelings and then to express them with song.

The pasuk says, “I am Hashem who lifted you out of Mitzrayim. Open your mouth in prayer and I will grant your request.” Rav Chaim Shmulevitz says Hashem is giving His children His ear. Whenever we call out to Him, Hashem will hear us and fulfill our request. That’s a gift from Pesach.

Let us seize the unique and precious opportunity of Pesach and approach it with the goal of further developing our relationship with Hashem as a child does with his father. On this transformative Yom Tov we can progress from one who relates to Hashem as a servant—out of fear—to a child who does the will of his father…out of love. If we use the opportunities of Pesach to transform ourselves, we can keep the benefits of the Yom Tov of Pesach with us for the entire year.


Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is the associate rosh yeshiva of Passaic Torah Institute (PTI)/Yeshiva Ner Boruch, where he leads a multi-level Gemara-learning program. PTI has attracted adult Jews of all ages from all over northern New Jersey for its learning programs. Fees are not charged but any contributions are always welcome. Beyond PTI, Rabbi Bodenheim conducts a weekly beis midrash program with chavrusa learning in Livingston plus a monthly group in West Caldwell. Rabbi Bodenheim can be reached at [email protected]. For more info about PTI and its Torah classes, visit www.pti.shulcloud.com.

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