This website is dedicated L’ilui Nishmas R’ Shmuel Yitzchak ben R’ Moshe A”H ר’ שמואל יצחק בן ר’ משה ע”ה

Pesach Vort 5782

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Pesach Vort 5782


I want to share a thought on Pesach. Moshe Rabbeinu comes to Pharaoh and tells him, bni bechori Yisrael, that Klal Yisroel is Hashem’s ben and Hashem’s bechor. This is an extraordinary thought. In the world of avodah zarah, a “god” does not care about its followers. Rashi comments on the words elohim acheirim, which refers to avodah zarah, that the avodah zarah gods are not just acheirim vis a vis Hashem, but they are also acheirim to those who serve them, in the sense that they are indifferent to the needs to who serve them. Similarly, Rav Wolber writes that we call it avodah zarah because the god is a zar, stranger, to the person serving it, because the god does not care about the person. 

If we think about it, the person serving the avodah zarah is a stranger to the god as well. Avodah zarah is rooted in yirah. Those who served avodah zarah wanted to remain on the good side of the avodah zarah, so they served the avodah zarah to placate them. Regarding Pharaoh, Chazal say that reshaim omdim al eloheihem, reshaim “stand above” their gods, because at the end of the day, the purpose of serving them was to get what one wanted. The idea of a god caring about those who serve them was completely foreign to them. 


Moshe comes to Pharaoh and introduces the concept of Hashem caring for Klal Yisroel, as demonstrated by Hashem calling us his ben bechor. We demonstrate our care back towards Hashem by immediately following kabbalas ol malchus shamayim (Shema) with ve’ahavta. We show how our relationship with Hashem is not just about yirah but ahavah as well. A slave serves his master out of yirah, primarily concerned about repercussions towards themselves. One who serves their master out of ahavah totally ignores their personal concerns, and focuses on the concerns of the other. 

Pharaoh resisted this thought process because it would change his entire thought process of how to relate to the world. It would mean that Pharaoh’s entire understanding of the briah would be undermined, because it would now require investing in a relationship, rather than just “paying off” the appropriate god and moving on (in addition, of course, to the need to now serve Hashem rather than his various deities). 


We should be zoche to be mekabel ol malchus shamayim out of ahavah and out of hakaras hatov. When we commit to the service of Hashem out of ahavah and hakaras hatov, we will have taken out of Pesach that which it has to offer us, and may it serve as a catalyst for the geulah sheleimah. 


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