Saturday, April 26, 2008

DVAR TORAH S3: Pesach (Our holiday has an egg too, sans rabbit)

I wanted to include some words I offered at the second seder about the egg.

The egg is an underexplained part of the seder plate. We popularly know it as a symbol of spring, which is the season (and in the bible, month, Aviv) of Passover, and of rebirth. It's round shape (actually an oval, which is elliptical) which indicates the cycle of the year and of life. It is the first thing we eat during the meal as it relates to Tisha B'Av which ALWAYS falls in the calendar on the same day of the week as the first day of Passover. The holidays relate as the days of redemption and of exile and both holidays are the two most auspicious in the ultimate redemption of the Jewish people (such as strong traditions indicating the Messiah being born on Tisha B'Av and Nisan being the month of both the past and future Redemption).

But it also is a symbol of the Jewish people, according to Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz who, at his tisch at VBS a few months ago (and also written by Isaac Klein in "The Guide...", and I will add to both of them) spoke about the egg as the symbol of the Jewish people. Most foods soften as you cook them, but the egg hardens the longer it cooks. We Jews have been subjected to fire for millennia, from the time of Pharaoh to today and yet instead of weakening we have been forged through fire. We are known as an am kshei oref, the stiffnecked people. This has been detrimental when our stiffneckèdness caused us to wander the desert for 40 years. But it has also kept us Jewish. No matter what the world threw at us, we kept the course. All of these ancient civilizations who tried to destroy us are gone and we are still here. "For in every generation people try to destroy us, but the Holy One, Blessèd be He, saves us from their hands."

Gut Shabbos un Gut Yontif,

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