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Chodesh Nissan, A Dvar Torah from Rav Binyamin Glanz

A Lofty Night Indeed

The seder night carries a certain feeling of gravitas and importance. This is evident in the way we conduct ourselves during the Seder: many married men wear a kittel, and everyone drinks four cups of wine. The strict guidelines we follow and the inherent order of the seder—hence its name—lend it a certain stature. We allude to this in the "ma nishtana" when we refer to ליל הסדר as "הלילה הזה," emphasizing הזה, the uniqueness of this night.

I want to try to understand these two points: where the feeling of importance comes from and why we follow such exact rules. The main focus of ליל הסדר seems to be remembering יציאת מצרים. The Rav poses the following question: Why is this night so special, given the fact that we remember יציאת מצרים twice every day?"

His answer will offer us more insight into the nature of ליל הסדר and help us understand the conduct of the night in a deeper way. The Rav points out that there is a difference between זכירה, which we do twice daily, and סיפור, which we do during the seder. זכירה is simply about remembering, with the memory itself being the goal of the remembrance. But סיפור, storytelling, is different. סיפור is meant to elicit a response, a reaction. That response is to thank and praise Hashem. This is the reason it says in the Haggadah, 'לפיכך אנחנו חייבים להודות ולהלל'—therefore we must thank and praise Hashem. The natural result of speaking of יציאת מצרים is to break out in הלל והודאה.

With this in mind, we can better understand the first point: the importance of the seder. On seder night, we are striving to reach a very lofty goal—a place of reactionary praise for Hashem. So, of course, the night feels important! It's not just a night of following rules and performing rituals; it's a night of elevating ourselves to a higher level of connection with Hashem.

Of course, the second point is now clearer as well. Chazal put in place a very specific set of practices and texts to facilitate the emotional response we are meant to have on this night. This brings to mind the words of the Rambam(chametz u’matza 7:6) "בכל דור ודור חייב אדם להראות את עצמו כאילו הוא בעצמו יצא עתה משעבוד מצרים" . The Rambam is saying that we must “show ourselves”, meaning conduct ourselves, as if we just came out of Egypt.This aligns with the idea from the Rav; the way to truly portray ourselves as if we just left Egypt is to follow the seder with the appropriate sense of importance. By doing so, we can truly embody the role of a recently freed slave, expressing genuine הלל והודאה.

May we  all be zoche to see our past ישועות as if they are currently taking place, as well as new ישועות, B’mheira B’yamainu. 

Chag Sameach, 

Rav Binyamin Glanz


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