Welcome to the concise, relevant Weekly Dvar. Although I've
made a personal commitment to write all new Dvars now that the
book is out, this Dvar is an exception because 1) it's not in
the book, and 2) it's been a long week (can you tell what time I
sent this?). Regardless, you should definitely pass it on, write
back, and enjoy...
* * *
As we sit down on Pesach (Passover) night at the Seder, we make
a transition that we wouldn't realize unless we think about it.
All day we prepare the food, making sure we don't have Chametz
(leavened bread), making sure we have all the Marror (bitter
plants) and eggs ready. The unleavened bread is to remind us
that we're still poor, the Marror to remind us of the past
exile, and the eggs dipped in salt to remind us that we're still
in exile. Then, we start the Seder, and the first thing we say
is how this is the "time of our freedom". We continue by telling
the story of how we were freed, and we even act like we're kings
by leaning when we sit! Are we slaves, or are we free kings?
R' Yerucham of Mir explains that the "time of our freedom"
means that not only was it when we were freed from slavery many
years ago, but it's the time when we can do the same TODAY! What
does that mean? Aren't we free? And if we're not, how does
Pesach 'free' us? That's where Pesach, Matzah and Marror come
in. Those are the 3 things that remind us, especially when we're
feeling like kings, that we were slaves, and that we're still in
bitter surroundings. If you think about it, because we were
saved from slavery by G-d, we are now indebted to Him, which
means that we're still not, and never will be, really free! The
point we have to take from all this is that although we're free
to do as we wish, it's only worth something when we use that
freedom to do something good, and be constructive with our
lives. Pesach teaches us that "freedom" used just for the sake
of being "free" is pretty "dumb"!