Sunday, March 24, 2013

Second Half of R' Mansour Haggadah Tidbits

On Thursday, I began a summary of a Rabbi Mansour shiur on the Haggada (available for download on The following is the summary of the second half of the shiur. Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the shiur to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my attempts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Mansour.

R' Mansour next asked - why is it that the Jews went down to Egypt in the first place? He answered that the Jews went down to Egypt because of the sale of Yosef. Bad things happen to the Jews when there is internal fighting and this was one of our worst episodes.

R' Mansour brought a proof to this concept from the story of Yaakov sleeping on the rock. The Medrash states that the twelve rocks were all fighting over which one would be Yaakov's pillow. Hashem made a miracle and all the rocks fused into one. But why was Yaakov sleeping on a rock? Why did they not become a pillow? The answer is that when something begins as a fight, it can never be a perfect situation.

The Ben Ish Chai says that the sale of Yosef as the reason the Jews went down to Egypt is hinted at in the seder. How? When Yosef received the colored coat, Rashi states that Ketones Pasim is like Karpas. The word Karpas is made up of two words - kar (clothing) and pas (striped).

The Ben Ish Chai states that by dipping the karpas in the saltwater, we commemorate the dipping of Yosef's colored coat into the blood.

R' Mansour stated that the Jews were unable to leave Egypt until the Jews had cured the fighting in the family. Once it was solved, the Jews were allowed to leave Egypt and stay together until the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed.

This is also hinted at in our seder as we say "al Matzos U'Merrorim Yochluhu" - we eat the matza and marror together. This symbolizes that the first day of Pesach and Tisha B'av always fall on the same day of the week (under the At Bash). They are forever joined together on the calendar.

[R' Mansour noted parenthetically, that the seventh day of Pesach always corresponds to Tu B'Av. Why? Because creating shidduchim can be as difficult as splitting the sea. So on the same day that the sea split, the young singles would go out and meet and become engaged].

The fact that there is a prevalent custom to eat an egg at the seder also brings us to remember Tisha B'Av as it is the food of a mourner and the food that is traditionally eaten as the last meal before the fast. Why do we need to remember Tisha B'Av on the night of the seder? Because the message of the egg is that there will be a Tisha B'Av in a few months which will start the same night as the seder if we don't take to heart the message of the seder.

R' Mansour then asked - where do we see that the Jews actually came together as one and effectively corrected the sin of Mechiras Yosef?

R' Mansour answered by quoting a Medrash which states that when Moshe told Pharaoh that the Jews would be leaving for only three days and the Jews were told to ask to borrow items to take the trip, the Jews all knew that this was not going to be a three day trip. All of the Jews knew that the trip was for good, but not a single Jew told the Egyptians that they were leaving forever. Not a single Jew ratted the nation out to Pharaoh, even though it could have engendered a great position with the Egyptian government or a tremendous reward.

This was the signal to Hashem that the Jews truly were ready to leave Egypt. The Jews were united and stayed together as a nation without any infighting or fracturing. Thus they had come full circle and were worthy of leaving.

I would like to add something to R' Mansour's vort. Yesterday afternoon I was zoche to hear my Rav, Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer, give his Shabbos HaGadol derasha. R' Kelemer asked four questions (as he always does), one of which was - why do we break the middle matza for Yachatz at the table? Why don't we just break it in the kitchen?

This is actually a question that always bothered me as well. Sometimes it can be very hard to find whole matzos in the box. Why do we need a whole second matza to start the seder when we will only break the matza in half before we ever get to the brachos?

R' Kelemer answered this question (along with his three others) by developing the concept that the "ha lachma aniya" was actually said in Egypt - he quoted the Kol Bo who states that the Jews invited each other to come and join in a meal and they broke their matzos up to share with each other in brotherhood.

R' Kelemer also quoted a Tanna D'vei Eliyahu who writes that when the Jews were in Egypt they came together as one group and made a covenant together that they would do chessed for each other. They agreed that they would not lose their religion, nor their language. They would stay together.

I heard this dvar Torah on Shabbos and it made me realize why the Yachatz follows Karpas. The Karpas is the recollection that Yosef was sold down to Egypt by his brothers and his coat was dipped in blood. But immediately thereafter, we break the matza in half, much as the Jews came together in Egypt and shared their meager provisions and formed a bond that they would take care of each other.

Once we have completed the cycle of dissension and then unity, now we can start the maggid and the Haggadah begins in earnest.

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