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Parshas Bo

Not Lonely- Only!

Reb Levi Yitzchok from Berdichov ztl. in Kedushas Levi expresses wonder why we call, for all time, that holiday when we all gather together to munch Matzos - “Pesach”. We don’t find in the whole Torah that that time has such a title. Rather it is repeatedly referred to as, “The Festival of Matzos’. Where do we find an allusion to the fact that it should be called “Pesach”?

The hint may be found, according to Reb Levi Yitzchok, in Shir HaShirim (6:3) which we read aloud in Schul on Shabbos during Pesach. There it is written, “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me!” He explains that we sing the high praise of our beloved, HASHEM, while HASHEM sings the praise of His Beloved, Israel.

Why is the holiday of “Pesach” aptly referred to as the “Festival of Matzos”? That’s HASHEM’s praise of Israel, as it written, “They baked the dough that they took out of Egypt into cakes of Matzos, for they could not be leavened, for they were driven out of Egypt for they could not delay, and also they had not made provisions for themselves. (Shemos 12:39)

Rashi explains the words, “They had not made provisions for themselves”: for the journey. This (verse) tells the praise of Israel that they did not say, “How can we go out to the wilderness without provisions?” Rather they believed and went. That is what is stated in the Prophets, “I remembered your favor for the kindness of your youth, the love when you were a bride, your following Me in the desert, in a land not sown.” What is the reward stated clearly after this? “Israel is holy to HASHEM etc.” (Yirmiyahu 2:2-3) The Nation of Israel is remembered for all time in glowing terms for living with ultimate trust as they fearlessly strode onto the stage of history, into a wilderness of unknowns, and without provisions.

Why do we appropriately call that “Festival of Matzos” “Pesach”? We are singing the praise of what HASHEM has done for us, as it is written, “It shall be that when your children will say to you, “What is this service to you?” You shall say, “It is a Pesach feast offering to HASHEM, who skipped over (Pesach) the houses of the Children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but he save our households.” (Shemos 12:26-27) We recall and remain forever grateful and for having dodged deadly bullets throughout and including the concluding moments of the exile in Egypt, and that our households were spared the fate of the Egyptian culture, while we survived.

So it is we find in the Talmud (Brochos 6A) a similar profound notion. After being informed the G-d, so to speak, dons Tefillin, the obvious question is prompted. “We know what we have written in our Tefillin, “SHEMA YISRAEL…Hear O’ Israel HASHEM is our G-d, HASHEM is ONE!” but what could be written in HASHEM’s Tefillin? What’s behind the question? Sure it would not be unexpected to find that bride carries a picture in her amulet of her groom. How odd would it be if we could peer into the locket of the groom and discover there is a picture of the groom himself! What then might we expect to be scripted and bound onto the mind and heart of The Almighty?

The Talmud says that HASHEM has written the verse, “Who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth!?” (Divre’ HaYamim I 7:21). There again we see our declaration of HASHEM’s oneness while HASHEM’s expresses our uniqueness and/or oneness?

What does the mutually declaration of “oneness” mean? There’s an old song, “one is the loneliest number” I can understand that, but I think the Torah means to say here, not lonely- only!

DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and



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