Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Posts tagged ‘Passover’

How to be Redeemed this Pesach

Question:

How do we prepare for Pesach?

Answer:

1) First of all, we should remember that through all of the simple preparations for Pesach such as cleaning and shopping, as well as all other accompanying Mitzvos, we build containers for ourselves in which to receive the holiness of Pesach. We should therefore carry them out with joyfulness and liveliness.

2) For sure we should pray and call out to Hashem, be Misboded to destroy the Chametz in our hearts, or at least to ‘nullify’ it and to tell Hashem that we have no interest in it. Even if you see that you don’t have the composure to sit and speak to Hashem, you can still talk to Him in the middle of working. Awaken your heart to Hashem and throw in some words of prayer to Him.

It’s said about Adel, the daughter of the Baal Shem Tov, that she would raise her eyes heavenward in middle of cleaning her house, and say, “How can I give Hashem satisfaction?”

Of course, you should still try very hard to find a set time to speak to Hashem.

3) You should study the Halachos of Pesach as well as the teachings of the Tzaddikim which explain the essence of Pesach and the subject of the Exodus.

4) But even after all of this, you should know that the main thing is to prepare is your heart. Awaken by yourself a new, fresh hope that Pesach is coming and you are about to be redeemed. There is a concept of ‘redemption’. There is a reality in which your entire mind and heart is going to change. From this Pesach on you will start to seek Hashem with sincerity.

This was the main effect of the exile in Egypt. Pharaoh enslaved Klal Yisroel so much that their spirit was defeated and they gave up on ever being redeemed.  The greatest wonder is how even after they screamed out to Hashem and cried from their work, still, when Moshe appeared to announce their emancipation, their hearts were unable to believe anymore that Hashem had really listened to their cries and that He wanted to redeem them. “And they did not listen to Moshe from a defeated spirit and hard work.”

Pharaoh overpowers and holds us captive in this way, even now.  He occupies a person and disturbs him in many ways; the main thing is that he should not have time to consider the possibility of having a free mind. What’s interesting is that Pharaoh will sometimes allow a person to be involved in Avodas Hashem, as long as he doesn’t use his mind to recognize his connection with Hashem, and the joy Above from the simple Mitzvos.

Therefore even though we have to learn about the essence of Pesach and to pray about it, it’s still possible that a person will learn ideas and study essays about the holiday of Pesach, but it all stays by him as nothing more than nice ideas to say over by the Seder. It’s also possible that a person prays to Hashem to be redeemed on Pesach, but on the inside he’s given up. Not necessarily given up on life, but he doesn’t believe anymore that it’s possible for things to be entirely different, that it’s possible to live a life of faith and joy, satisfaction from every Mitzvah, and a constant connection to Hashem.

A person therefore has to fortify himself with the conviction that Hashem certainly needs him, and will not leave him in exile forever. The same way that when Moshe announced the redemption to Klal Yisroel, he couldn’t just take them out because they didn’t believe him. It’s difficult to redeem someone if he himself doesn’t believe that he himself is ready for it.

We have to know that on Pesach an immense light of Geulah is revealed. The problem is that a person is so small in his own eyes that it’s hard for him to believe that this light which has redeemed us in the past is literally renewed every year.

Question:

Last year I also looked forward to Pesach, and I didn’t see myself being redeemed?

Answer:

This is the question which lies deep in the heart and prevents a person from being redeemed. It’s reminiscent of the question, “What is this Avodah to you?”, for which we answer, “If you would have been there you wouldn’t have been redeemed.” We have to renew ourselves with a strong faith that there certainly will be a Geulah.

But a person has to know what the redemption that he’s looking forward to so much is. There are people who place high hopes on the Seder night, that from that day on they will be Tzaddikim or Talmidei Chachimim, etc., and are filled with disappointment when things don’t work out the way they had hoped.

On Pesach we have to yearn and to search to renew our recognition of Hashem, to put more thought and concentration into our davening, to pay attention to Hashem’s greatness, to say the Haggadah with a loud voice and with liveliness, to contemplate the miracles and wonders how Hashem keeps up the entire universe and reorganized the whole system of nature just in order to bring Klal Yisroel close to him, to open our mouths with song, to eat the Matzo with thoughts of Emunah, to believe that the Matzo is the remedy which Hashem gave us to heal our minds and heart, and when a person looks to change the way he sees looks at the world, he automatically merits entering into this Avodah this year according to his abilities.

Again, the main thing is to believe that there is another way to live. Not only that there are people in this world who are living differently, but that you yourself can be different.

Even afterwards, you have to know that after Pesach comes the period of Sefiras HaOmer. There are days in which a person is checked and tested in many ways. Some people have their presence of mind and their power of holy speech and prayer taken away from them. The purpose is not to distance them, but to test them to see if they will be stubborn to go after the truth, and to constantly push away feelings of imaginary distance form Hashem. Thereby, they will merit a true renewal of their constant connection to Hashem.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part II

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

A. Rooms in the House & furniture that need cleaning and Bedikas Chametz:

All rooms of the house that are suspected of having Chametz brought in require cleaning and Bedikas Chametz.. This is because there are times in which a person entered such a room in the middle of his seuda and there is therefore a fear that he may have left some Chametz behind.  This applies even more so when there are children in the house who go from room to room with Chametz.  Bedrooms are an issue in regards to the sick who ate in the bed.  One also needs to perform Bedikas Chametz under the beds it is not uncommon for Chametz to fall there.  This applies even more so to places in which one eats, such as the kitchen, dining-room and living room including the space in-between or under the cupboards if one is able to gain access with his hands.

B.  After cleaning, what are the rules of Bedikas Chametz in these places:

After one has washed the floor with cleaning materials in the open area of the room, there is no need to perform Bedikas Chametz.  With regards to the corners of the room, even though they are halachically considered “holes” or “grooves” requiring Bedikah, since anything remaining would becomes “unfit for a dog to eat” due to the cleaning materials, according to the essential Halacha there is no need to perform Bedikas Chametz there, however, in practice it appears that one should check in there in a superficial manner.

C.  Bathrooms (without toilet) in general require cleaning and Bedikah as it is not uncommon for Chametz to be brought in there during a Seuda, especially on Erev Pesach where one may wash his hands before or after a meal.   Restrooms (containing a toilet) require bedikah when there are children in the house. (Many make the mistake of not performing a bedikas chametz in these places.  So, if one wants to perform bedikas chametz “b’tehara” (“in purity”) without having to do netilas yadayim again, he should leave the restroom till last.

D.  Cupboards outside of the kitchen: The Poskim write that there is a fear that one may have needed something in the middle of a seuda from a cupboard and inadvertently left some Chametz behind.  Therefore, any cupboard that is suspected of having Chametz requires bedikah.  However, if one is used to washing ones hand before opening such cupboards, there would be no need to clean and perform bedikah there.  Furthermore, if access to the higher parts of the cupboards require a chair or ladder, there is no need to clean and perform bedikas Chametz there.  If there are children in the house, any place that they can access would in fact require cleaning and bedikah.  Even more so, cupboards that have children’s toys are certainly considered to be places containing Chametz and would therefore require cleaning and bedikah.

The practical ways to clean and perform bedikas Chametz in cupboards and those places suspected of containing chametz:

  • One should remove all the contents from the shelves and drawers (both fixed and removable) and clean them.
  • One also needs to clean all the surfaces of the cupboard (sides, back bottom etc) and it is preferable to clean these surfaces with cleaning materials as this process will invalidate any remaining chametz there.  Shelves that one is able remove and clean, do not require bedikas chametz.  However, fixed shelving and the bottom of the cupboard do require bedikah in the corners.  Drawers should be removed and cleaned and when performing bedikas chametz, only require superficial checking (unlike the shelves).

E.  Bookshelves: With regards to bookshelves (open or closed) that are in a place where one eats throughout the year, the lower sections are considered to be places almost certain to contain Chametz, even more so in the case of children in the house.  However, the higher less accessible places do not require bedikas chametz.

F.  Clothes: If one’s clothes are laundered, there is no need to clean the pockets to perform bedikas chametz  there since, after laundering, there is unlikely to be any remaining chametz, and any chametz would be deemed invalid by the laundering process.  However, with regards to those clothes that one intends to wear on Pesach, it would seem appropriate to clean their pockets even though they have been laundered in order that no crumbs should inadvertently enter one’s food.  This process of cleaning the pockets after laundering, entails turning them inside-out and dusting them off.

If one was not able to launder his clothes in general before Pesach, one should clean the pockets and hems (as these are considered places suspected of  chametz), and should perform bedikas chametz in the sunlight or under the light of the room on them.  It would be considered a fine bedikah and therefore, one would not need to reform bedikas chametz on the night of the 14th again.

Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part I

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

Many people are mistaken in regards to preparing the house for Pesach in that on the one hand, they clean more than is necessary according to the Halacha, yet on the other hand, they overlook those areas that are halachically obligated to be cleaned.   In the upcoming weeks we will B”EH try to clarify these points.

General rules

i) The goal of cleaning the house for Pesach is specifically for the preparation of the Mitzvah of “Biur Chametz” (“Burning the Chametz”).  And since it is impossible to remove all the Chametz in one short period of time, we need to start preparing by cleaning the house well in advance.  Therefore, in preparing for the mitzvah it is appropriate only to clean in those places that are likely to have Chometz, and it is certainly not necessary to clean or check those places where there is no chance of Chametz. 

That being said, our sages give us the guidelines as to which places are most likely to contain Chametz, thereby to check and clean in those places specifically, and which places that are not likely to contain Chometz and can be ignored without checking or cleaning.

ii) The mitzvah of Bedikas Chametz (“checking for Chometz”) is on the night of 14th Nissan and it is possible to bring forward the search up to thirty days before Pesach.  Since today we have significantly larger homes with many cupboards etc the need for checking versus that of previous generations, makes it very difficult to remove all the articles from these places for the requirement of checking on the night of the 14th Nissan, as is required. Therefore, it is not merely good advice to start checking in advance, it almost becomes an obligation.  And so, there are definitely places that one can check early in advance and which do not have to be re-checked on the night of the 14th itself.

iii)  Checking for Chametz must meet three conditions:

1. It must be at night.

2. It must be by the light of a candle.

3. One must guard the place that was checked so that no Chametz will have a chance to enter there again.  If one does not guard this place after checking, one will need to re-check it on the night of the 14th.  (For example, those places where small children go, need to be securely sealed.  That being said, if it is impractical to protect the place appropriately, then one needs to check it as close to Pesach as possible.)

iv) Checking for Chametz as we mentioned needs to be done with a lit candle.  However, any search that is performed before the 14th can be performed l’chatchila (to begin with) using a flash-light!  In fact, it would seem preferable when performing a check before the 14th to use a flash-light, since checking with a candle makes it difficult to check appropriately due to the fact that people are afraid to burn/damage fabric or char the walls etc.  On the 14th however, we must check with a candle as we have no power to chance the decrees of our Sages.

Note:  One cannot rely on the light of the room itself when performing the checking, because it does not adequately illuminate the corners of the room, or under/between the furniture, and these places specifically are the main places halachically obligated for checking.

v)  For what does one need to search and remove?

According to the Poskim, it appears that one is Halachically obligated to remove even small “clean” (edible) crumbs.  However, crumbs that are “dirty”, where “there is no concern of them being eaten” do not require checking or removal.  And so, crumbs that are found on the floor are not obligated by the Halacha for removal.  Also, crumbs that are “not clean” and which are found in cupboards do not need removal either.  However, cupboards that contain food or vessels that are specifically used for Pesach, one would need to remove even such “dirty” crumbs because we are concerned that they may end up in the food and one will eat them inadvertently.  Therefore, only where such crumbs would not be considered “fit for a dog to eat” would we not need to remove them.

vi)  Can one rely on the cleanliness of a place without having to perform Bedikas Chametz?

In practice, there are various types of cleanliness:

1. General cleanliness of a place does not nullify the obligation.

2. If the place is cleaned with specific attention to there not being any crumbs, one does not have to perform Bedikas Chametz there.  Therefore “smooth” places that are cleaned well, would not require Bedikas Chametz.

3. With regards to places that have holes and grooves like corners of a cupboard, drawer, or window sill, it would not suffice to rely on cleanliness and not perform a check. However, if these places were cleaned with a needle or cleaning-cloth in such a way that deem the crumbs inedible, then it would in fact help in removing the obligation to check such a place.

That being said, one who is stringent about Bedikas Chametz in respect to those places that have holes and grooves, even though they were cleaned well before, will find Blessing and the Poskim write that the reason for this is that, even though we are sure that we have cleaned there in an appropriate way, our Sages obligate us to ascertain that the cleanliness is in fact valid (in the same way that for example, a factory needs to perform “Quality Assurance” on its products after manufacturing.)

Next week, I”YH we will clarify what is considered to be a place that has had Chometz in it and that which is not.

Tag Cloud