Thursday, March 26, 2015


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tzav/Hagadol
7 Nissan 5775/ March 27, 2015

After a particularly brutal last few weeks of winter, we happily welcomed in spring this past Friday at 6:45 pm. But within minutes of the onset of the new season, winter was back giving us five more inches of snow.
On Shabbos morning I donned and buttoned my winter coat yet again and headed to shul. When I arrived in shul and began opening my coat the top button popped off. At that point the button became muktzeh since it no longer had any use to me on Shabbos, so I let it fall to the floor near the wall.
The purpose of a button is to connect two disparate items and hook them together into one entity. I decided that my button popping off was a sign that it was time to open my coat and allow the spring weather in. So Shabbos afternoon I didn't wear a coat.
Even more significant than my button falling off is the fact that the holiday of Pesach always heralds spring.
Pesach is a holiday of national connection, when a band of disparaged slaves were transformed into a nation. The laws of Pesach reflect that transformation. The korbon Pesach must be consumed in groups whose adherents pre-registered before the offering was brought.
While the holidays of Tishrei focus more on the individual and his personal process of teshuva, the primary focus of the holidays of Purim and Pesach are on national redemption. We celebrate as a people.
This is part of the reason why we have such an adverse reaction to the wicked son at the Seder. The question he asks is essentially a good one - why are we busy with this service tonight? But it is his attitude that so irks us. On the holiday of national unity when we achieved nationhood and marched out as a free people, he wants to remain a disparate loner.
We caution him that if he possessed such an attitude at the time of the redemption he would never have left. It was a unified nation that Hashem took out of Egypt, not a group of individuals.
In that sense the wicked son is popping off the proverbial button - he wants to disconnect himself. That's why we give him such a harsh response, for he has effectively undermined our primary effort tonight to celebrate the genesis of our nationhood.
I would conclude by saying that when the button on the bottom of your shirt starts popping off, it's also a sign - a sign that it's time to begin the post Pesach diet. But until then, enjoy!

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
           R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

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