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04/14/2022 03:39:43 PM


Several years ago, I had a knee operation shortly after Pesach. To keep me occupied during my recuperation period, my friend (and gabbai!) Michael Rubin gave me a book about the Seder, entitled The Night that Unites. I said about it ‘ilu natan lanu sha`ar, velo natan dappim, dayyenu, i.e., if that book had only a title page, and didn’t have any content, dayyenu. How much more so that it had both title page and content!

In other words: what a great title!  For the Passover Seder is a night that unites us in several ways. It unites us as we sit around the table: grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, cousins, little children, friends, and even strangers The seder unites us with our history, as we recall the slavery and ultimate redemption from Egypt; and as we recall the great rabbis who lived at the time of the Hadrianic persecutions (see last week’s bulletin!) and as we recall how bekhol dor va-dor `omedim `aleinu le-khaloteinu, i,e, how in every generation there are enemies who try to wipe us out, and yet ha-qadosh barukh hu’ HaShem saves us, and the Jewish people continue.  And, of course, ideally the seder unites all of the children: even the rasha` came to the seder!

This book also unites the opinions of three great Torah personalities: Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (under whom I had the privilege of studying at YU;) Rav Kook (who stressed the miracle of the return to Zion in our times, basing himself on classical sources,) and Rav Shlomo Carlebach (whose great songs and stories inspired thousands.)

So, here is a beautiful idea that I saw in this book. We know that at the seder, there is a child who doesn’t know how to ask.  The father is told: ‘at petah lo! i.e., the father has to open for him. Rav Shlomo developed​ the idea that the greatest gift a father (or mother) can give to a child is to open doors.  Children sometimes might have difficulty in certain aspects of Judaism.  The parent must gently open the door, so to speak, and show the child how to find his/her way in the world of Torah, of Judaism, of life.

The same applies to rabbis, to teachers, and to everyone.

May you all have a happy and kosher Passover.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782