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Chol HaMoed Pesach
Chol HaMoed Pesach
"How is Pesach going, Sam?"
"Oy vey, what's the matter?"
"I found a loaf of bread in the rafters of the roof of my house. I don't know whether I have to get a ladder to go up there and destroy it or not."
"Why don't you just leave it there? It's too high up to reach."
"Right, but it might fall down from the roof into my food."
"I hear. You think you have problems? I found a loaf of bread in the pit in my backyard."
"Well, there's no chance of that falling into your food."
"True, but I go down there from time to time to store things. I might pick it up by mistake."
The question is:
Are Sam and Jack obligated to get a ladder and destroy their loaves of bread?
The answer is:
This is a dispute in the Gemora (Pesachim 10b). The Gemora cites a reason to leave the loaf in the rafters. Since it will not fall down on its own, he will not come to eat it. On the other hand, the loaf may fall down and he may come to eat it. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 438 (2) rules like the second reason and obligates a person to bring a ladder to lower a loaf of bread from the rafters and destroy it on Pesach.
Concerning the loaf in the pit, there is no possibility of the loaf falling up; therefore, he is not obligated to bring a ladder to go into the pit to destroy it. However, the Mishna Brura adds that this is only if it fell into the pit by itself. If he deliberately put it there, then he must destroy it. Alternatively, if he regularly uses the pit all year, then he also must go down to destroy the loaf.
This puzzle and answer is for learning and discussion purposes only. Do not rely upon it for psak halacha! Consult a Rav to determine the correct halachic ruling.
"The song of songs, which is Shlomo's" (Shir HaShirim 1:1).
"What a beautiful song, Abba."
"Shlomo HaMelech's words have warmed Jewish hearts and souls for centuries, Chaim. Who is not moved by this emotional song between Hashem and His chosen nation, Israel."
"Our Rebbe taught us that the entire shir is a parable describing Hashem's great love for us. He left us with a question to discuss at home."
"What is the question, Chaim?"
"Why do we read Shir HaShirim on the Shabbos of Pesach? Every one of the five megillos is read on a specific day of the year. The subject of the megilla is tied into the theme of the day. What is the connection between Shir HaShirim and Pesach?"
"That is an excellent question, Chaim. You have already answered half of it yourself. Shir HaShirim is all about love - Hashem's love for Klal Yisrael. Therefore, it should be read at a time when The Almighty's love and affection are most apparent. That time is Pesach."
"Abba, I always understood that Pesach is the time of our freedom, when we were taken out of the slavery of Mitzrayim. We also received the foundations of our emunah on Pesach. The great miracles of the makkos (plagues) and the Kriyas Yam Suf etched emunah into our hearts forever. How did Hashem demonstrate His love for us on Pesach?"
"You have already alluded to the answer, Chaim. The Nesivos Shalom (Volume 2, p. 244) compares the Shalosh Regalim to a marriage. The first step is the eirusen (engagement), when the chosson chooses the kallah. The next step is the nissuin, when the chosson and kallah are wed under the chuppah. The third step is when the chosson brings the kallah to his home and they begin to live their life together. Pesach is compared to the eirusen, Shavuos to the nissuin, and Succos to bringing the kallah home. On Pesach, Hashem (the chosson) chose Klal Yisrael (the kallah) from amongst all of the nations to be His chosen people. He took us away from the Mitzrim to be His and His alone. The very beginning of a relationship is a time of intense love. Pesach, the beginning of our relationship with Hashem, is the appropriate time to read Shir HaShirim, the words which express these feelings."
"I understand, Abba. It is so inspiring and comforting to know that the Creator of the Universe loves us more than any other people on the face of the earth."
"It is not only inspiring, Chaim, it is also compelling. Hashem's affection for us obligates us to love Him. Rav Eliyahu KiTov in his Sefer HaTodaah (p. 414) relates that we see this from the words of the song itself. Shir HaShirim is a parable, which never mentions Hashem's Name at all. We understand that He is the subject, but we do not see His Name written in the words. So too it is with the world. Hashem is behind everything, keeping the entire universe running. However, we do not openly see Him. Our avodah is to see Hashem's Hidden Hand everywhere. We will then come to appreciate Him. This will compel us to use all of our experiences in life to get closer to Him. Thus our whole life will become a song of increasing our love for Hashem; coming closer and closer to Him."
"That is beautiful, Abba, but how is it related to Pesach?"
"Yetzias Mitzrayim was a time when Hashem's Hand was not hidden at all. He openly demonstrated to the world that He and He Alone was in charge of the forces of 'nature'. What was the purpose of this display? To choose us. To take us to be His. To show His love for us. With such an open expression of love, how can we help but reciprocate? We MUST show our dearness for Him. Therefore, on Pesach, when Hashem openly revealed His love for us, we read Shir HaShirim, the song of His hidden devotion. This inspires us to appreciate every concealed act of kindness, and respond by coming closer to Him. This kindles in our hearts a burning love for Hashem."
"May the fire burn brightly forever."
Kinderlach . . .
The next time that you go to a chassanah, look into the eyes of the chosson. You will see a special twinkle in his eye. That shows his love for the kallah. Hashem loves us as a chosson loves a kallah. Although He usually hides His Presence to the world, He revealed Himself openly at Pesach time. This was the time when He took us to be His kallah, and demonstrated His love for us. He still loves us just as much, but now we have to work to recognize His hidden acts of kindness. Shir HaShirim inspires us to do that. See Hashem's hidden hand everywhere, kinderlach. Feel His love, appreciate His kindness. Reciprocate by coming close to Him through Torah and mitzvos. Love Him with all of your heart. Make your life a song of love to Hashem.
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