Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pesach Stringencies

The Heilegeh Ishbitzer in Mei HaShiloach quotes Reb Bunim MiParshischa who said that all the stringencies that the Jewish People adopt on Pesach are adornments to holiness, and this is alluded to in the verse that states (Shir HaShirim 1:!0) tzavareich bacharuzim, your neck with necklaces. This means that every limb of a person’s body has a corresponding ornament or garment, whereas the neck can be adorned with an ornament that is not unique to the neck. A precious stone is not designed to clothe someone. Rather, it is intended to be suspended from a person’s neck. Similarly, the stringencies that have been adopted by the Jewish People on Pesach is due to the fact that the neck is the vehicle through which the food enters, and it is specifically regarding food matters that all the stringencies on Pesach apply. This is despite the fact that there is not really a place for all these stringencies. In fact, the festival of Pesach is a time when food related issues are filtered. Thus, although the stringencies regarding Pesach appear to be distant from the mitzvah of eating on Pesach, they are nonetheless ornaments for holiness. For this reason we find a distinction between Maaser Sheini and Pesach, in that one can be deceptive regarding Maaser Sheini (See Mishnah Maaser Sheini 4:4) whereas we are stringent regarding Pesach. The reason for this distinction is that regarding Maaser Sheini it is said that one should separate Maaser in order that he should become rich. Thus, the mitzvah is clothed with wealth, so it follows that a wealthy person should not be so particular in his giving of Maaser, i.e. charity. One should not begrudge someone who caused him harm, and he should not be particular with that person regarding the giving of charity. For this reason one can be deceptive regarding the giving of Maaser Sheinei. Regarding Pesach, however, the mitzvah is to be limited, and we find that matzah is referred to as the poor man’s bread, as the Gemara states (Pesachim 115b) the manner of a poor person is with a broken piece of bread. Subsequently, the mitzvah of Pesach is clothed in the idea that one is particular, and even a seemingly insignificant matter is rendered a matter of great magnitude. For this reason the Chachamim allowed room for many stringencies, and “one checks (for chametz) as far as his hand extends,” and even the slightest amount of chametz is prohibited on Pesach. Nonetheless, a Jew is cognizant that all these stringencies are for our benefit, so that all our actions should be incorporated into holiness. In essence, though, “poverty does not exist in a place where there is wealth.”

1 comment:

yossi said...

I saw that the Rosh says that Kittnos is a Chumrah that will bring to Kulahs(in baking matzos for lack of other options of food) and the Minhag should be stopped in Moadim Kihilchoso