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Length: 40 minutes
Preparing for Pesach is not just about getting rid of chametz. As women, it is important to prepare for Pesach by emulating Miriam Haneviah, whose faith in the redemption led to the birth of Moshe Rabbeinu. She brought tambourines along with her in order to sing praises to Hashem. As we head towards the season of renewal, let us infuse our houses with the joy and hope toward the future, emulating Miriam’s optimism and faith as we prepare for Pesach.
Length: 50 minutes
In this Rosh Chodesh shiur, we discuss 4 ideas to give sharper focus to the month and to Pesach. The she’eino yodeah lishol, the child who doesn’t know how to ask, does not simply refer to a young baby; rather, someone who does not ask because they do because they are supposed to. As free people, we encourage questions and are supposed to find meaning in what we are doing in order to understand and appreciate it. Additionally, Pesach is a Yom Tov of zerizus (alacrity), when we have excitement and energy because we are free to do this, not because we are forced. It is important to incorporate the joy in this mitzvah, and make preparations and the time something to look forward to and enjoy. Lastly, it is critical that we identify with the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim as part of Klal Yisroel, and part of the big picture.
Length: 31 minutes
Parshas Tzav continues to discuss the korbanos. The korban mincha is a meal offering, made from flour and oil. The remainder of this korban cannot become chametz; rather, it is eaten by Aharon and his sons as matzah. Chametz symbolizes laziness, decay, and waste, as it just sits around and rises without action. This is in contrast to the alacrity and positive haste of the Kohanim when they do the avodah. The Beis Hamikdash is a place of life; therefore, it is not a place for chametz, which has many opposite characteristics. Although it is difficult to maintain that speed and zerizus the entire year, on Pesach are in that mode of vibrancy and vitality.
Length: 46 minutes
Parshas Tzav continues the theme in Sefer Vayikra of Korbanos. One of the commandments mentioned here is that in general, there cannot be chametz in the Beis Hamikdash. We don’t bring offerings of bread, rather of matza. One reason for this is that chametz is subject to the ravages of time. Leavened bread needs time in order for it to rise and become fluffy. Besides for the alacrity that is required of the Kohanim, and by extension us as well, in our servitude of Hashem, time is something that is particularly sacred. When we were given the mitzva of Rosh Chodesh we were in a sense put in charge of time in this world. Hashem Himself is above time, as His Shem Havaya suggests that He was, is, and always will be. Hashem is also called Emes. He is constant and unchanging, not affected by time the way human beings are. In the physical world we are subjected to time, but in a spiritual sense, our eternal neshamos (souls) are not and we try to tap into that in this world.
Length: 59 minutes
The second aliyah (section) speaks about the flour that is brought for a Korban Mincha, a meal offering. Although it is cheap, to produce flour and bread the person needs to work hard and toil. When giving it up for Hashem it is as if they are giving their soul. Bread is the maker and breaker when it comes to the story of the exile and redemption of Egypt and there is also a prayer called Mincha in the middle of the day. Both of these are associated with Yitzchak.
Length: 47 minutes
In the third aliyah of Parshas Tzav, we learn about the Korban Todah. This thanksgiving offering is brought under 4 circumstances when a person was saved–from illness, traveling in the desert or ocean, or being released from captivity. The Maharal explains how Bnei Yisrael went through each of these elements through the enslavement and redemption from Mitzrayim. Although the korban Todah includes chametz, on Pesach, we cannot bring this offering, requiring us to recognize that everything comes from Hashem, even when it appears to be through the hands of people.
Length: 40 minutes
The 4th aliyah in Parshas Tzav discusses Moshe gathering all of the Jewish People before the Ohel Moed (tent of meeting) to appoint Aharon as Kohen Gadol. This space was not large enough for everyone to fit, but there was a nes that there was enough room for all. This concept of many fitting into space for few comes up in various places pertaining to the mishkan. This is because when it comes to the Ribbono Shel Olam there are no limitations and no boundaries. This concept of not having boundaries applies to our interpersonal relationships – specifically in marriage as well. As long as we are looking out for someone else there is always enough room.
Length: 55 minutes
The concept of offering animals on a mizbeach is a recognition that man is above animal. Man is not meant to worship animals, but to bring them up to a higher level of sanctity. In Mitzrayim the Egyptians serve animals. Shabbos Hagadol was when the Jewish People set aside the lambs for the Korban Pesach, and while the Egyptians would usually have been furious at this blatant disrespect of their gods, they were completely unable to do anything. We have a choice to treat the animals as something to lift up, or to spend our lives pursing animalistic tendencies and worshipping the animal. We can head towards Hashem, or we can head towards emptiness and nothingness.
Length: 49 minutes
Hashem’s greatness is found through His interactions with the world, and involvement with every little detail, even though He is all-powerful and completely spiritual. Pesach is a demonstration of this greatness—Hashem Himself reached down and took us out from Mitzrayim. Pesach corresponds to Avraham Avinu, whose middah is chessed-demonstrating that Hashem is involved and present on this earth. On Pesach, we make sure to take care of others, emphasizing this fundamental belief of Hashem’s individual involvement.
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