Passover Never Passes Over
Passover never really passes over. The truth is that we are really meant to
pack it up and take it with us. Passover is the Holiday of Faith. It is the
time that we made our first national connection with G-d. He let us know
that He didn't just create the world and leave it up to random events of
history. He is involved. He even took the time out of His busy schedule to
make that known to Pharaoh, Egypt, and of course, to us. G-d's intervention
into history is the exception which proves the rule. That is that He is
always involved behind the scenes, and He is very interested in us.
Those who participated in a Pesach seder may remember that the Hagada (the
Passover night liturgy), states in it that even if we were seasoned
veteran Torah scholars, we would still have a commandmant to relate the
events of leaving Egypt. Rabbi Sholom Noach Bresovsky, of blessed memory,
explains the reason for this. Recounting the events of the Exodus from
Egypt is the basis of our faith in G-d. Just as G-d is unlimited, faith in
G-d too has no limits - it can always rise to new levels. The knowledge of
the events one may have, but the growth in our faith that we draw from this
knowledge continues indefinetely. So even a well versed Torah scholar has
much faith to gain from participating in a seder (a reading of the Passover
liturgy) and all of its observances.
Passover teaches us that there is a G-d who is interested in us and
involved in our lives. The natural conclusion then, is that we should show
interest in Him.
The classical work "Chovos HaLevavos" dedicates a chapter of his work to
the topic of serving G-d. His basic premise is that since we can discern so
many favors which G-d constantly bestows to us in so many ways, it is only
natural that we try to show our appreciation in some measure. Even though
we would never be able to repay a minute fraction of the favors we receive,
one would certainly be ingratious not to try. Consequently, any little bit
we can do is a pleasure, as it is an opportunity for us to show our
gratitude. If G-d would give me something specific to do, here's my
opportunity - let me jump at the chance. That is the basis of all Torah and
Mitzvah (commandment) performance. It is also notable that the Hebrew word
"mitzvah" meaning "commandment" is related to the Aramaic derivation
"tzavsa," meaning "togetherness." Performing commandments brings us close
This brings us to this week's parsha. When the Tabernacle was completed,
the only thing left was for G-d to bring His presence to dwell in it. On
the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, G-d did just that. With the
entire Hebrew nation witnessing, G-d's heavenly fire consumed the offerings
which had been placed on the altar.
Upon witnessing this, two very great sons of Aharon the High Priest, Nadav,
and Avihu, longed for closeness with G-d. As the event is recounted by the
Torah, they took some of the sacrificial spices and burned them in the Holy
of Holies, the most restricted and sanctified area in the Tabernacle. There
G-d took their souls, and they died. Their actions are criticized by the
Torah, and they died doing a sinful deed. However, the commentaries note
that it was their unbridled desire to come close to G-d that got them in
trouble. Their souls were drawn like magnets to G-d's presence, and they
were not protected, since their deed was not the performance of any
commandment given to them. As a result, they perished. Still, their desire
to be close to G-d was correct and worthy of emulation.
Now we are living in times when it is hard to take one's mind off of Jews
and Jewishness. Bombs are exploding almost daily in Israel killing
innocents, and making widows, widowers, orphans, and bereft parents.
Synogagues are being torched in European communities. The whole world is
preoccupied with Jews! We really need to take stock of where we come in to
this seemingly chaotic situation. Let us start by internalizing the message
of Passover. G-d runs the world. No one can hurt another person without His
permission. That means that He is giving permission. Why? He's trying to
tell us something. My feeling is that He wants us to develop our awareness
of Him. Some One Who does so much for us should not go on being ignored.
He's calling us, and the time to answer is now. Let us strenghthen our
awareness and desire to get close to G-d. All good things can only come
from that. My personal feeling is that alot depends on us now. Let's rise
to the challenge. Prayer, performance of mitzvos, and keeping G-d in our
thoughts has the potential to go a long way now. Let's do our best.
Text Copyright © 2002 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.