Friday, May 3, 2024

Parshas Achrei Mos 5784




Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Achrei Mos – Mevorchim Chodesh Iyar   

25 Nissan 5784May 3, 2024 – 10th day of the Omer

Pirkei Avos – Perek 1


On the afternoon of the seventh day of Pesach I realized that in Eretz Yisroel Pesach was over and they were already eating chometz. Far from being envious however, I actually felt badly for them. I was more than happy to have one more day of Yom Tov, to say the Yom Tov Kiddush and enjoy two more meals with my family, and to recite the magnificent words of Hallel and the Yom Tov Shemoneh Esrei in its beloved tune. The pizza could wait another day. I would much rather be enveloped in the ethereal world of Yom Tov than to rush back into my mundane routine.

The Chasam Sofer (Oh’C 145, Derashos 2, p. 272) writes that when Moshiach comes two days of Yom Tov will be observed, not only in the Diaspora, but even in Eretz Yisroel itself, “to remind us that we were in exile, and G-d brought us out and redeemed us from all our woes.” 

In addition, the Chasam Sofer (Toras Moshe, Pinchos) writes that when a Jew merits to celebrate Yom Tov and observe its endemic mitzvos and halachos, he should celebrate the very fact that he was able to have that celebration. That is why those outside Eretz Yisroel celebrate a second day of Yom Tov. The very fact that we are able to celebrate the holiday outside Eretz Yisroel, and to feel the elevation and spiritual embrace of the holiday even outside our homeland, is cause for another day of Yom Tov.

Those in Eretz Yisroel also celebrate the fact that they merited to observe the holiday by calling the day after Yom Tov Isru Chag (“binding of the holiday”). But outside Eretz Yisroel that celebration is far greater.

Perhaps we can explain this idea of the Chasam Sofer with the following parable:

An Italian businessman had to be overseas for a few months. As the weeks wore on, he increasingly missed his family and his home. But no time was harder than the holidays. Among the other customs, his family had a certain family recipe from generations earlier for a special pasta. The recipe called for many ingredients that were plentiful in Italy, but not where he was. Back home the highlight of the holiday was when the family would gather together and eat the pasta dish.

The businessman had a wealthy friend who saw how sad he was and decided that he would ensure the Italian businessmen had his family dish for the holiday. It was quite challenging, and it took considerable effort and money to gather all the ingredients. He even had to have a special oven constructed so that it would taste just like it did back home. But in the end the wealthy man persevered and was able to have the beloved dish replicated.

On the day of the holiday the wealthy man surprised the Italian businessman by inviting him to enjoy the pasta meal.

Tears flowed from the Italian businessman’s eyes when he smelled and then tasted the nostalgia-evoking dish. “How happy you’ve made me. Though nothing can replace being home, I’m gratified that I am able to enjoy a taste and feeling of connection with home even though I’m so far away.”

In exile we are away from home. The fact that we are able to enjoy and bask in the spirit of Yom Tov despite our not having a Beis Hamikdash or being in Eretz Yisroel, is reason itself for added celebration.


Apiryon (Parshas Re’eh) writes that there is a vast difference between a physical celebration and a spiritual celebration. A person may enjoy a physical celebration, but it is a fleeting experience, over all too soon. A spiritual celebration, however, is not only enjoyed and experienced at the time of the event, but, afterwards, when one reflects upon the experience he is again happy to have had that elevating opportunity.

This is the meaning of Dovid Hamelech’s words in Tehillim (68:4), “and the righteous... will rejoice in their rejoicing.” The righteous rejoice when they reflect upon the spiritual rejoicing they experienced prior.

This is the joy and celebration of Isru Chag. It is the joy of knowing that we have just observed a holiday with its unique, endemic mitzvos and opportunities to serve and draw closer to Hashem on a higher level than one could throughout the year.

By now, the Pesach dishes have been put away for next year, and we have indeed had the customary post-Pesach pizza. But I hope somehow to maintain the spiritual gains of the holiday, even while somehow discarding the physical ones.


Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum