Monday, April 22, 2024

teeth and our spiritual DNA; why I don't like vegetables, haseiba and chipazon; the seder as a re-enactment of Yakov receiving his father's blessing

1) The scariest thing about what is going on at Columbia, Yale, MIT,  et al, is that the radical Jew hater students of today are the professors, business leaders, and politicians of tomorrow.  There is little future for Jews in America, and I've been writing that for years.  

My hunch (I would love to see if anyone has done a study on this) is that had you taken a poll before events of the past few months of 12th graders in your average Jewish day school high school, you would have found more students aspiring for a spot in an ivy league college than students aspiring to make aliya. 

Hashem has forced us the hard way to reassess our values.  

2) For some reason someone in my house last night mentioned using teeth to identify a body through DNA (don't ask).  I said that I thought teeth were usable if there were dental records like X-rays or impressions of the teeth, but not for DNA.  Turns out I was wrong.  Punkt fahrkert -- the first hit in my google search says, "DNA is an excellent means for identification of unidentified human remains. As dental pulp is surrounded by dentin and enamel, which forms dental armor, it offers the best source of DNA for reliable genetic type in forensic science."  

My wife heard this and immediately chimed in that this is the pshat in הקהה את שיניו.  The rasha wants to eliminate his spiritual DNA, his connection to Klal Yisrael.  It's the teeth that are the best means of preserving DNA, so that's what we point to when we reply to him.  I think it's a great pshat.

3) The gemara in Eiruvin (4a) quotes a Mishna in Negaim:

הנכנס לבית המנוגע וכליו על כתיפיו וסנדליו וטבעותיו בידיו הוא והם טמאין מיד היה לבוש כליו וסנדליו ברגליו וטבעותיו באצבעותיו הוא טמא מיד והן טהורין עד שישהא בכדי אכילת פרס פת חיטין ולא פת שעורין מיסב ואוכל בליפתן

Why does is the eating davka  מיסב ואוכל, b'haseiba?  Rashi writes:   מיסב. שהייה זו בהסיבה שיערוהו ולא בנאכלת בעמידה והולך ובא שהוא שוהה באכילתו יותר  When you recline and are engaged in doing nothing but eating, the eating goes faster than when you are walking around with your plate (hence the reason people linger at smorgasbords).

Maybe another reason to do haseiba on Pesach night is as a sign of chipazon, because when you eat that way you eat faster.

4) R' Tzadok haKohen writes that the reason we start the seder with karpas, a vegetable, is because Adam haRishon, in response to his eating eitz ha'daas, was cursed וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ אֶת־עֵ֥שֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶֽה.  (Adam complained that he cannot be so degraded as to eat like an animal of the field,  so Hashem softened the blow a bit and allowed him to eat bread, בְּזֵעַ֤ת אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ תֹּ֣אכַל לֶ֔חֶם. )  Pesach is not just about the release from Egypt, but is about the tikun of man's earliest sin as well.  That is the ultimate goal of geulah, which is still in process.  

I don't like eating vegetables.  Most parents have to twist their kids' arms to get them to eat veggies.  I think this may be a remnant deep in our psyche of Adam haRishon's reaction.   Either that, or vegetables just don't taste very good.  

5) R' Noson Gestetner points out that there are a number of parallels between what we do on Pesach night and the events surrounding Yaakov getting the bracha from Yitzchak.  Yaakov wore special clothes; on leil ha'seder we wear a kittel.  The  שְׁנֵ֛י גְּדָיֵ֥י עִזִּ֖ים טֹבִ֑ים are an allusion to the korban pesach and the korban chagiga.  Yaakov said to his father קֽוּם־נָ֣א שְׁבָ֗ה וְאׇכְלָה֙ מִצֵּידִ֔י upon which Rashi comments שבה – לשון מיסב על השלחן, that this means haseiba.  Yakov brings wine,  וַיָּ֧בֵא ל֦וֹ יַ֖יִן וַיֵּֽשְׁתְּ, which may be an allusion to the 4 kosos.  Rashi comments on  וַיָּ֛רַח אֶת⁠־רֵ֥יחַ בְּגָדָ֖יו וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֑הוּ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר רְאֵה֙ רֵ֣יחַ בְּנִ֔י כְּרֵ֣יחַ שָׂדֶ֔ה  that  שנתן בו ריח טוב, וזהו שדה תפוחים.  Rashbam adds  את השדה שהוא מלא נרד וכרכום קנה וקנמון.  These are the basic ingredients of our charoset.  

Why do we have this strange minhag of stealing the afikoman?  It all harkens back to Yaakov "stealing" the brachos, which we re-enact this night of leil ha'seder.  

There is a Midrash Pli'ah on the words  בָּ֥א אָחִ֖יךָ בְּמִרְמָ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֖ח בִּרְכָתֶֽךָ that that says that Yitzchak showed Eisav the afikoman.  The Sheivet haMussar quotes that the word בְּמִרְמָ֑ה is equal to the gemastriya of afikoman -- pretty incredible.  

This explains, says R' Gestetner, why Yitzchak told Eisav that he already ate from the meal brought to him earlier and so there was nothing he could do for Eisav.  Why not eat again?!  There's always room for desert!  The answer is that Yitzchak had already eaten afikoman, and אין מפטירין אחר הפּסח אפיקומן.

Chag kasher v'sameich!  

1 comment:

  1. re: 3,
    והיינו שכיון שנאמר 'ואכלתם אותו בחפזון' ומצוה שיאכל במהירות, אזי תקנו שיאכל פת חיטין ובהסבה למהר האכילה. (ספר ליקוטי יהודה פסח).