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Changing Winter to Spring

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Reclaiming The Fifth Son

Absolute Reliance

Tefillin and Egypt

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Text of the Passover Haggadah

 Reclaiming The Fifth Son Tefillin and Egypt

Absolute Reliance

11th of Nisan, 5721 [1961]
To Our Brethren Everywhere;
G-d Bless You All:

Yetzias Mitzraim, the Exodus (the departure from Egypt) - the focal point of the festival of Pesach - occupies a central place in Jewish life, both on the collective as well as on the individual level. As such it is a source of instruction and inspiration not only in its general theme, but also in every detail and aspect of it.

One of the fundamental features of the Yetzias Mitzraim message is the unlimited Bitochon - the absolute reliance on Divine Providence - which found such poignant expression in the historic event of the Exodus from Egypt.

A whole people, men, women and children, several million in number, eagerly leave a well-settled and prosperous country, with all its fleshpots and material blessings, and go out on a long and perilous journey, without provision, but with absolute reliance on the word of G-d coming through Moshe Rabbenu.

Moreover, they do not follow the well-trodden and shorter route (through the land of the Philistines) which, although possibly entailing war, was yet more logical by far than crossing the vast and desolate desert. For in the fortunes of war there is a chance of victory, and even in defeat there is a chance of escape and survival for many, whereas the chances of survival in the terrible desert without food or water were, by all laws of nature, virtually nil. Nevertheless, they follow the obviously "irrational" route solely on the word of Moshe speaking in the name of G-d.

Still greater is the wonder considering that this takes place after spending 210 years in a highly agricultural country, where nomadic life was despised, a land of fertile soil, independent of rain and climatic inclemencies, richly irrigated by the faithful Nile River, in short, a land completely secure in its natural resources and natural laws and conditions.

"Since the days of your departure from Egypt" and to the present day, these aspects of Yetzias Mitzraim, namely, the absolute Bitochon in the Divine Providence and its implementation in life, down to the daily conduct in accordance with the Divine precepts, regardless of the dictates of human considerations and natural laws, must be the indispensable companion and guiding light, in the experience of our people as a whole, and in the daily life of the individual Jew in particular, everywhere and at all times.

When the non-Jewish world, and even those of the Jewish world who have strayed from the true Jewish way of life, challenge the observant and practicing Jew: You, who like us, live in a materialistic world, in the midst of a highly competitive society, facing a desperate struggle for economic survival, how can you escape subservience to the idolatry of the land (be it the Dollar, or the fear to be "different", etc.)? How can you adhere to a code of 613 precepts which "burden" your life and limit your competitiveness at every side and turn?

The answer is - Yetzias Mitzraim provides the clue.

And as in the case of Yetzias Mitzraim, when the Jews responded to the Divine call and precepts, disregarding so-called rational considerations, and breaking with the negative past, it turned out that precisely the application of this principle in actual life was the road to their true happiness, and not only spiritually (receiving the Torah and becoming the G-d chosen people and holy nation), but also materially (in coming to the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey).

So it is also today and always. By virtue of the Divine Law, which is called Toras Chayim, the Law of Life, and the Mitzvos, whereby Jews live, lived and experienced in the daily life, regardless of how the past had been, the Jew attaches himself to the Creator and Master of the World, and liberates himself from all "natural" restrictions and limitations, and attains his true happiness, materially and spiritually.

"Know Him in all your ways." Jews are enjoined to know and remember and permeate with holiness every aspect of the daily conduct and activities. In so doing the observant Jew may frequently face the above mentioned challenge and test. Therefore, the Jew has been enjoined: "Remember your deliverance from Egypt, every day of your life." Remembering and identifying oneself with the aspects of Yetzias Mitzraim is a source of limitless strength to make every day meaningful and full of true Yiddish life, and as my father-in-law of saintly memory, has emphasized: The festival of Pesach irradiates not only every day, but every moment of the Jew's life.

With the blessing of a Kosher and Happy Pesach,

 Reclaiming The Fifth Son Tefillin and Egypt

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