This week we celebrate and re-enact Yetzias Mitzrayim {the Exodus from Egypt} and the birth of the Jewish people as a nation. With the present situation raging in Israel, it is somewhat difficult to feel the spring-exuberance that this holiday represents. I know that for me personally, I'll have a different feeling and understanding when I read in the Haggadah: "It is not one alone who has stood up to destroy us, rather in each and every generation they stand up to destroy us…"

I found an essay in the Collected Writings from Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, zt"l, to be very informative, revealing and comforting and thought that I should share some parts of it with you.

Rabban Gamliel used to say: Anyone who doesn't make mention of these three things on Passover has not fulfilled his obligation: Pesach, Matzoh and Marror {the bitter herb}. [Passover Haggadah]

Pesach teaches us that Hashem's Divine Intervention is always upon us. Sleep calmly in the midst of a storm when deadly violence is all around you. The darker the night, the fainter the glow of the stars, the nearer Hashem is to you, watching every home and every doorpost wherein His families and His children lie.

But Pesach is more than Hashem just as the Guardian. It is the call of the shepherd to his flock and the call of the flock to the shepherd. Hashem not only watches over His flock but uses all that occurs to guide and lead that flock to the ultimate goal that only He truly knows and understands.

Lastly, Pesach reveals to humanity that Hashem is not only the Guardian and the Shepherd, but also the Judge. Hashem paused as He passed over each house, weighed, considered, examined and judged what should be done. There is no blind distribution of life and death, salvation and destruction…

Matzoh teaches that when one is free and independent, there exists the danger of losing focus of the purpose and responsibility that accompanies that freedom. A nation can forget its origin and the Guardian, Shepherd and Judge that brought them to where they are. Matzoh had to be taken with us into freedom as an everlasting reminder of where we were, our dependence on Hashem as only He saved us from that state, and where we must go as a nation. Our freedom from the service of man was only in order to attain the sublime sovereignty of serving Hashem. And every year, when we re-experience that deliverance, no chametz {leavened bread that serves as a sign of power and earthly independence} can even be in our possession.

Marror reminds us that the path to the ultimate goal and purpose is not strewn with roses. Care and trouble, pain and anxiety are brought by Hashem to strengthen and fortify the nation, allowing it to grow from within and ripen it for the ultimate redemption. One must hold the marror along with the Pesach and the matzoh, realizing that without marror, the flower of Pesach would never have blossomed.

It is the difficulties of life (marror) that force us to realize our dependence on Hashem (matzoh) and leads us back into the loving arms of our protecting Shepherd (pesach).

May the difficulties that we are presently experiencing be the final link of that divinely-orchestrated chain, stretching across the generations, bridging the gulf between Yetzias Mitzrayim {the Exodus from Egypt} and the coming of Moshiach tzidkainu {the Messiah}, and may we experience it, speedily in our days…

Wishing you a wonderful Pesach,
Yisroel Ciner

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