Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday's Haggadah Tidbits

Regular followers of this blog are aware that the Thursday night post is usually dedicated to a summary of R' Frand's vort on the parsha. As R' Frand does not generally give the Thursday night shiur on the week before Pesach, I have substituted a summary of the first half of a Rabbi Mansour shiur on the Haggada. 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.

The Haggadah mentions a passage that invokes a conversation between Hashem and Avraham at the Bris Bein HaBesarim (Bereishis 15:13) where Hashem tells Avraham that the Jews will be enslaved for 400 years and then they will go free.

The use of the 400 years is odd, because the Jews were actually only enslaved for 210 years, not 400. This is hinted to in Bereishis 42:2 where Yaakov says to the brothers - "Ridu Shama" - go down there. The gematria of Ridu is 210 - the Jews would only be in Egypt for 210 years.

The Gemara in Megilla states that every time that the Jews are put into exile Hashem goes with them. This is seen in the pasuk "imo anochi b'tzarah" - I will be with you in times of trouble. It is even seen in the fact that Hashem appears to Moshe from the burning thorn bush. Why could Hashem not have appeared in a majestic tree? Because Hashem was with the Jews in their time of trouble and He too was in pain.

This is seen in the Hagaddah where it says Baruch Shomer Havtacato - Blessed is Hashem that He kept his promise. The passage continues that Hashem computed the Ketz - the gematria of Ketz is 190 - Hashem deducted the 190 years from the 400 and the Jews were only in exile for 210 years.

Another of the interpretations said by R' Mansour focuses on the intensity of the troubles in Egypt. It says in Shemos (1:14) - "Vayimarriru Es Chayeihem" - The Jews had a bitter life with hard work. It was so bitter that it was like 400 years of troubles, but condensed down to 210.

R' Mansour also quoted the Vilna Gaon who explains that the notes on Vayimarriru Es Chayeihem are a Kadma V'Azla. The meaning of the words Kadma V'Alza - they proceeded and they went. Because the work was so difficult they left early.

R' Mansour added to this thought by quoting the Apter Rav who said that the gematria of Kadma is 145 and the gematria of V'azla is 45. The Kadma V'Azla = 190 - the Jews left Egypt 190 years early because they had an extra bitter time.

R' Mansour tied this into the custom of dipping the marror into the charoses. The charoses is made with apples and wine - it is meant to be sweet. But we dip the marror into the charoses - this dilutes the bitterness with the sweetness - even though we shake off the charoses. This seems to be in conflict, but it is not. We have the bitterness, but we need to understand that there is some sweetness in it. This is a message of life - in every marror that Hashem gives a person, there is some sweetness, because Hashem always has a reason and it is good. Although we can't always taste the charoses, it is there.

This also explains a confusing section of the Hagaddah where R' Gamliel says anyone who does not say Pesach, Matza and Marror did not fulfill their obligation. This seems to be out of order - Pesach is freedom - its the karban Pesach, Matza is freedom - its the bread we took with us when we left Egypt, but marror is slavery. The marror should come first! But with our explanation - since the marror shortened the Jews stay in Egypt, it is freedom as well.

I will iy'h try to continue my summary of this shiur in the days leading up to Pesach.

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