Monday, April 10, 2017

Cry Out And Demand

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The Haftora for the second day of Pesach is from the book of Melachim Beis (II Kings). Chilkiyahu the Kohen Gadol had found the Torah that Moshe himself wrote. This find sparked an awakening and a yearning in the king, Yoshiyahu, to return to Hashem. The Haftora begins with all of Jerusalem joining the king, as he read from the Torah, and reaffirmed the covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people. King Yoshiyahu now turned the whole nation away from idolatry, cleaned up the Temple, destroyed the idols, and the vessels used for serving the idols. He also did away with the moral depravity that was rampant even in the Temple itself. After the clean up, in the 18th year of his reign, he called for all of the Jewish people to do the Pesach sacrifice. It was the greatest Pesach sacrifice done from the beginning of the era of the Judges, through all the kings of Yisrael and Yehuda. The Haftora ends with saying that there was no king before or after him, that returned to Hashem, with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his means.

This Haftora is special, in that it is only read outside of Israel, as we have an extra day of Yom Tov.

The Haftora is connected to the Torah reading, to Pesach, and specifically to the second day of Pesach.

The most obvious connection, is that the Haftora speaks of the Pesach sacrifice done in the time of King Yoshiyahu. The Pesach sacrifice is in the Torah reading and it is the sacrifice of the Yom Tov. However, most of the Haftora speaks about the Jewish people returning to Hashem and getting rid of idolatry. How does this connect to the Torah reading and to Pesach?

In the beginning of the Torah reading, it speaks of the mitzvah of sanctifying Hashem, which refers to allowing oneself to be killed rather than serving idols.

Another connection is chametz and matzah. On a deeper level, chametz represents arrogance, as it is dough that rises and is blown up. Matzah represents humility, as it remains flat. Arrogance is akin to idol worship, when one's ego is blown up, he leaves no room for anyone else to exist, not even Hashem. Even when he learns Torah, prays, or does mitzvahs, it is all about him, "look at how holy I am." He can't see past his own nose. In his arrogance, he has become in total denial of anyone but himself. This is the essence of idolatry, it is a self centered, pleasure seeking, no responsibility, what is in it for me? Attitude. Unfortunately, many people are like this today. Before Pesach we are meant to rid ourselves of all chametz, spiritually as well, getting rid of our own arrogance which is akin to idol worship.

On the second day of Pesach we start counting the Omer, which is also mentioned in the Torah reading. The idea of counting the Omer, is to work on our spiritual makeup, every day reaching a higher plateau, in preparation of receiving the Torah on Shavuoth. This process is cleaning up the negative and getting closer to Hashem, similar to the Haftora, where they cleaned out the idolatry and got closer to Hashem. And this is also the specific connection to the second day of Pesach.

One may ask: In the First Temple era, we had the Aron (the Holy Ark), the Urim V'Tumim, and it was a time of open G-dliness, when miracles were witnessed daily in the Temple. How is it possible that they fell so low, as to serve idols?

The question is the answer. Because it was a time of open G-dliness, and great holiness, the negative was also very powerful, and therefore, there was a powerful pull and lust to idol worship. The Talmud says, that in a dream, Rav Ashi asked King Menashe, who was wicked, and served idols, "If you were so wise why did serve idols?" Menashe responded, "Had you been there, you would have pulled up the bottom of your garment and ran after it." In other words, the pull towards idol worship was extremely powerful, and it was hard to fight it.

Every era has its vice that pulls us to go against Hashem's will. Now too, we are pulled away from our objective, and by wise people who are drawn by the powerful negative forces. We are now, according to the great and holy Tzadikim of our era, at the end of the exile. Our job now is to cry out to Hashem and demand that He send Moshiach and put an end to the exile. Just as our ancestors did in Egypt. As we read in the Haggadah, "And we cried out to Hashem our G-d, the G-d of our Fathers, and Hashem heard our voice, and he saw our suffering..." This is what brought the redemption then, and this will bring it now.

Through our efforts, to strengthen our Judaism, and through embracing our calling in these last moments of exile, to cry out to Hashem and demand that He send Moshiach. We will surely merit the ultimate redemption just as our ancestors did. The time has come.


  1. Where is the humility in "demanding" from Hashem? Thought we are supposed to purge the chametz?

  2. There's no need for humility when you cry and demand from your real Father in Heaven...