Thursday, January 14, 2016

ba'avur zeh

“V’higadta l’bincha bayom ha’hu leimor ba’avur zeh asah Hashem li b’tzeisi m’Mitzrayim.” There are two words that we use to mean because: ba’avur and biglal. What’s the difference between them? Ksav v’haKabbalah writes that biglal is used when a cause precedes an event: A occurred bigal B. Ba’avur anticipates some future outcome: A occurred ba’avur so that B will happen in the future. The freedom of yetziyas Mitzrayim is not an end in itself, but is just a means to some higher goal that will be achieved in the future, “ba’avur zeh.”

What is that “zeh?” He explains that the Torah uses zeh as an adjective to mean the pinnacle of greatness, the most exalted level of something. In Parhas Ki Tisa we read that Bnei Yisrael complain , “Ki zeh Moshe ha’ish lo yadanu meh ha’ya lo.” We all know the derash on “Zeh K’li v’anveyhu” about Bnei Yisrael kavyachol being able to point at G-d. The pshat is that K-li is “zeh,” the greatest, the most exalted. (See Menachos 43 for another example.) I didn’t go through all the places Ksav v’haKabbalah discusses this idea, but I was surprised that I didn’t yet find him applying it to another pasuk in our parsha: “Hachodesh hazeh lachem rosh chodashim…” The derash is that Hashem pointed to the molad to help Moshe understand, but I think the pshat is that the month of Nisan as a chashivus above and beyond all other months – it’s the best and greatest. Coming back to our pasuk, the purpose of yetziyas Mitzrayim is “zeh,” the greatest, most exalted thing. Ksav v’haKabbalah suggests that “zeh” used in that way refers to kabbalas haTorah.

“V’haya ki yomru Aleichem bneichem mah ha’avodah hazos lachem… vayikod ha’am vayishtachavu.” The Torah opens its description of this dialogue with one's children on Pesach night with the word “v’haya,” which is always a flag that tells us this is good news. Rashi writes that “vayikod… vayishtachavu” was an expression of thanksgiving. What are we so happy about and so grateful for? Chazal tell us that this parsha is speaking about the ben ha’rasha, the wicked son of the seder! What’s the big simcha about having a child that is OTD?

The Klausenberger rebbe answers that “ilu haya sham lo haya nigal,” as we read in the haggadah, but that’s exactly the point – he is not there; we are no longer there. We are not the same enslaved people we were. Kabbalas haTorah changed everything, as the transformative power of Torah has no limits. The idea that had BN”Y sunk to the 50th level of tumah they would have had no redemption, says Chasam Sofer, is true only before kabbalas haTorah. Post-Sinai, Torah can pull a person even out of that 50th level. Even if the child is a rasha, “v’amarten zevach Pesach hu,” speak words of Torah to him -- that will lead to his redemption.

Since it was a rough week and I don't have a lot to say let me share with you one other idea from the Kalusenberger: There is a strange bit of dialogue between Moshe and G-d at the burning bush. Moshe complains, “Mi anochi ki ailech el Pharoah v’ki oyzie es Bnei Yisrael m’Mitzrayim,” to which Hashem replies, “B’hotziacha es ha’am m’Mitzraayim ta’avdun es haElokim al ha’har ha’zeh.” How does G-d’s response address Moshe’s claim of unworthiness?

Rashi explains that the phrase “ki otzi es Bnei Yisrael” raised the question of what zechus BN”Y had to merit deliverance. The simple pshat is that Moshe was asking two part questions: 1) why me; 2) what merit does BN”Y have.  Hashem’s answer addressed that second question.  The Klausenberger learned it derech derush a little differently. Moshe was asking only one question: why me? Part two is his justification for that argument. Moshe said that the very fact that he was troubled by the question of what merit BN”Y had should automatically preclude him from being the go’el. A person who can see anything less than greatness in Klal Yisrael is unfit to be their leader.

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