Friday, April 3, 2009


Why is this eve of Passover different from all other Passover eves?
As I prepare for this Passover, I am profoundly grateful for a commentary on the Haggadah that brings me utter spiritual joy. The commentary of Rabbi Soloveitchik, zt"l, the legendary Orthodox leader of 20th century, is a source of Torah that is all sweet.I am grateful and privileged to share one insight with you.
When commenting on the injunction-"Ve-higgadeta le-vinkha,"and you shall tell your child,"(Exodus 13:8), the Rav says the following:"The Haggadah consists of two separate components-narrative and hallel, praise."
I understand this comment to mean that the entire spiritual enterprise of Passover night, of the Seder in all its magnificent and exalted dimensions and experiences,is to instill in the participants the profound insight of gratefulness to God at this moment in our lives. The narrative itself contains the unmistakable implication of the unfolding of the miraculous and the marvelous in the Jewish experience of freedom. At the center of this event is God as the Source of miracles and the Giver of Freedom. Thus, without the inclusion of hallel,without an awareness of the gift of freedom, the Seder as an authentic experience is impossible; the narrative without praise is a mere story, not a narrative of Torah and spiritual significance.
It is no surprise to me that before the Seder can be viewed as "Nirzah"-as acceptable to God and to ourselves, as an act of completion and fulfillment, it must be preceded not only by narrative, the eating of Matzah , a full and hearty meal and the drinking of four cups, but "Hallel"-the emergence in our consciousness of feeling deep gratitude to God for the miracle of Passover. Until we can praise ,we cannot feel the quality of -Nirtzah-of completing our task and declaring -Next Year in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom.

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