When we come out of Yom Tov, we should feel that we are on a higher spiritual level – different from when the Yom Tov began. We were fortunate to have so many beautiful shiurim about Pesach presented to our community that helped us all to grow spiritually. Reviewing the important lessons of Pesach now is a perfect time to help us carry them into the rest of the year.
On Monday evening, April 15, Chazaq and Lander College for Men hosted a community shiur at Lander College for Men featuring Rabbi Fischel Schachter, a highly acclaimed and much-loved scholar, international lecturer, storyteller, and author, and Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi of Bet Yaakob Synagogue & Congregation and a well-known speaker.
Yaniv Meirov, Operations Manager of Chazaq, introduced the program and welcomed the large crowd. Next, Rabbi Fischel Schachter began his shiur. “Part of Pesach is finding ourselves – finding out who we really are.” He taught that on Pesach there are the nicest utensils and nicest dishes. It’s a time to attach ourselves and our children to a deeper meaning. “To prepare for talking to your son about the story of coming out of Egypt, you must, according to the Imrei Emes, emphasize that things do not happen by chance. If you want to see Hashem’s presence in your life, you can see it.” He said, “Share with your children that this is where I see the Ribbono shel Olam in my life. Don’t search the world. Search yourself.” He taught that every moment, a heavenly voice comes down from the shamayim and says, “Yidden, do t’shuvah.” He taught that we can’t take anything for granted. “We all have stories. Take a notebook and write down hashgachah stories and share them with your children.”
He shared an analogy of a self-cleaning oven. If we don’t clean the fat in a self-cleaning oven before putting on the self-cleaning mode, then we will get a fire. In the same way, we must cleanse our midos. If we don’t remove bias, then Torah will not get inside of us.
He spoke about why men wear a kittel on Pesach night. It’s the sign of a Kohen Gadol, and white represent purity. White is a hint of Hashem giving us hashgachah even if we don’t deserve it. “Every Jew at his Seder is a Kohen Gadol. It’s one of the most intimate moments between Hashem and us.” He pointed out that T’chiyas HaMeisim will take place during Nisan. We put the kittel on because people will get up with their kittel. He explained a message that the kittel conveys to us: “The kittel says now you are alive. You still have the choice to lock in your state of mind. On Seder night, we are snapping ourselves into place.”
He taught, “Your house on Seder night is the Beis HaMikdash, and the night is Yom Kippur.” On Seder night, Hashem is begging us to smile and be happy. He stated, “On the night of the Seder, the key is here. Hashem hugs you. You have the power to be mashpia to make shalom bayis in your heart and you can make shalom bayis in others’ hearts.”
Rav Schachter concluded with the important lesson that any moment of our life is a gift from Hashem. Once we understand that we need Hashem in every step of our life, then it is a different life.
Next, Rabbi Eli Mansour began with a question. Why do we drink four cups for one Exodus? The Chidah reveals a great secret. When Hashem created the world, He revealed an important piece of Jewish history. We would have to endure four exiles. They are hinted to in Parshas B’reishis. Egypt was the first, Bavel [Babylonia] was the second, Paras [Persia] was the third, Greece was the fourth, and Galus Roma is the fifth one, which we are still experiencing. The fact that we are in Galus Roma is an extension of Mitzrayim. He taught that this is why it is not so difficult to imagine that we are still slaves. Hashem tells Moshe, “I will be with them in all their exiles.” “Egypt is one place. It’s all bound together. It’s all one.”
“Egypt was the symbol of all the galuyos. Coming out of Egypt symbolizes coming out of all of the galuyos.” In this generation, we are obligated to see Mitzrayim here. “The galus we are in now is the galus of hatred. This galus of hatred and anti-Semitism teaches us we have to work on hatred. Rav Dessler taught: “The reason Eisav hates Yaakov is because Yaakov hates Yaakov.”
“The galus of hatred is to remind us of where our sin is.” Rabbi Mansour taught that the way to fix hatred is following the laws of sh’miras ha’lashon.
This beautiful program can be viewed on TorahAnytime.
By Susie Garber