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THEN AND NOW by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"In every generation it is one's duty to regard himself as though he personally has come out of Egypt."

The Peninim Haggadah quotes Harav M. Gifter Shlita who explains that all the events which occurred to Bnei Yisrael were not singular, transitory events that were meant to be immediately forgotten. Every miracle, every incident bespeaks eternity. The events are eternalized in such a manner that when that date on the calendar arrives, the Jew must relate to "then" as if it were "now." Indeed, as the Haggadah says, one must regard himself as though he came out of Egypt. This is not an event of the past; it is occurring in the present. Consequently, one is obligated to recite Hallel even at night, since it is viewed as if the miracle occurred to him personally.

In a similar vein, Rabbi E. Dessler z"l observes that time is not a line that passes above us, but rather a circle through which we travel. Periodically, we return to those events which have been eternalized as a result of the spiritual values with which they have been suffused. During these unique periods, one has the opportunity to interface with the experiences which have consecrated these moments in time. Thus, at the specific time of the year when we remember zeman herutenu, the time of our liberation, we are infused with the spiritual concepts that highlight that moment in time. We are inspired by the kedushah, holiness, of the moment; we are elevated by the experiences as we relive yesiat misrayim.

May we merit to truly experience these feelings during this holiday season and may we be privileged to celebrate Pesah in Jerusalem with the Mashiah speedily in our days, Amen. Happy and Kosher Pesah to all. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"Blessed be Hamakom (Hashem) blessed be He, Who gave Torah to Israel" (Haggadah)

As we read the Haggadah this year with the entire family around us, we will experience the pure joy of uniting our family in service of Hashem. Before the Haggadah mentions the 4 sons, we are given an introduction. We bless Hashem for giving us the Torah. What is the relevance of this to the 4 sons? The Ohr Hahayim teaches us that the Jews in Egypt were at a low spiritual level known as the 49th level of tum'ah (impurity). Hashem knew that the Jews must leave Egypt now; it was now or never. If they went down to the 50th level, they would no longer have any holiness left as Jews and would be forever lost. This was before the Torah was given to the Jews on Mount Sinai. However after the Torah was given, even if the Jewish people would sink to the 50th level, there is still hope for them through the purity and holiness of the Torah. No matter how far a person has strayed, he is able to want to come back by exposing him to Torah.

Now we understand why the Haggadah gives this introductory praise to Hashem for giving the Torah before we mention the 4 sons. The Haggadah is telling us that all of your sons, even if one of them is the rasha, the wicked son, can be brought back by telling him words of Torah. This is the cure today for the wandering son who is lost. Don't talk about anything else. Don't impress upon him that he must be religious. Just tell him the beautiful words of Torah. Learn with him in depth about the perashah. Open up a gemara and learn together. He will be transformed.

Wishing you and your families a very enjoyable Pesah.

Pesah pop quiz: In the times of the Bet HaMikdash one of the "Four Questions" was different. What was it?

Answer to pop quiz: "On all other nights we eat both roasted and cooked foods; on this night we eat only roasted" (korban Pesah). This was replaced by the "leaning" question.

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