Pesach: Vehigadta - The Main Mitzvah
After all the exhaustive cleaning, shopping, matza-baking, cooking and pre-Seder logistics, people often forget the most important preparation, the spiritual preparation...
by Rabbi Shalom Arush
Nissan is such an exalted month. It is the month that is especially conducive for strengthening emuna. The "Shem MiShmuel" of Sucatchov writes that during the month of Nissan, the Heavenly Treasury is wide open and anyone can grab whatever he or she wants...
The month of Nissan is an exalted month, and Passover Seder night is the pinnacle of the month of Nissan. Just as a person would need plenty of physical preparation to climb an extremely high pinnacle like Mount Everest, he or she needs special preparation for the spiritual pinnacle known as Seder night.
After all the exhaustive cleaning, shopping, matza-baking, cooking and pre-Seder logistics, people often forget the most important preparation, the spiritual preparation! What is the Seder all about, anyway? It's one of the Torah's 613 mitzvoth, Vehigadta lebincha "And you shall tell it over to your children." This is not some ancient custom or mere ritual it's a Torah commandment! Yet, people spend so much time shopping and chasing dust particles that they neglect the main mitzvah preparing themselves to tell their children about our exodus from slavery to freedom.
Do you think modern kids really care about what happened 3,330 years ago? You must bring the Haggada alive to them and show them that everything in it applies to us, to this very day! You won't be able to do that unless you set aside time to learn the Haggada.
Oh, you think it's sufficient that youve already learned the Haggada in previous years? That doesn't work. For it to come out of our heart and penetrate our children's hearts, the Haggada must be fresh in our minds. Sit down and learn it. If you can, learn also an elaboration of the Haggada that you never learned; this will make the Haggada alive and fresh for you, so that you'll be able to make the Passover table and story alive and fresh for your children.
There's another advantage of learning the Haggada. The Haggada is the book of emuna; the more you learn it, the more you acquire and strengthen emuna.
Don't forget that for a successful Passover table and night, you have to pray. Don't be foolish; don't waste any time on inconsequential endeavors. Our sages say that the wise man has eyes in his head. Set aside time at all costs for personal prayer. Don't waste time! The evil inclination wants you to be nervous: did I clean well enough? Maybe I forgot a few crumbs somewhere? Don't let him drive you crazy. Once you say kol chamira and you nullify all unleavened foodstuffs - finished! Halachically, you're all set. Now, move forward.
The important thing is that the light of emuna reflected from the Haggada, from all the wonderful mitzvoth of Pesach and from the month of Nissan should illuminate our hearts to the extent that our hearts are capable of illuminating other people's hearts. We all know the importance of guests at the Pesach table, sharing our food with those less fortunate. If that's so, we must certainly share our emuna the soul's main food with all those who are spiritually hungry. By virtue of Passover and its mitzvoth, may we all merit to spread the light of emuna across the globe, amen! Happy Passover!
Rabbi Shalom Arush is an Israeli Breslov rabbi and founder of the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions. He spreads the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov among Sephardic and Ashkenazic baalei teshuva around the world through his books and speaking appearances. Rabbi Arush is considered one of today's leading Hasidic spiritual guides, inspiring hundreds of thousands through his books, audio CDs and online presence.