Tzav/Pesach 5770

This week I’d like to share two short thoughts: one on the parsha and one on Pesach.

This week’s parsha discusses the karbon mincha, the meal offering. The law is this karbon is not allowed to be made from chametz; it must be unleavened. Why? To answer this question, we must first understand what chametz is and what a karbon is. Let’s first explain chametz. Our Sages teach us that chametz is related to a person’s yetzer hara. The difference between unleavened bread and leavened bread is that leavened bread rises. In metaphorical terms, it symbolizes making oneself seem great (by inflating one’s ego), while unleavened bread is flat and modest. Unleavened bread does not make itself to be larger than it actually is. This symbolizes how a person should behave. We should try to act modestly and not make ourselves look greater than we really are.

A karbon is usually translated to mean sacrifice, but this translation is incorrect. The root of the word karbon is kof, reish, beis, which means karov or to get closer. A karbon was brought to bring a person closer to Hashem. Therefore, the reason we brought unleavened bread as our karbon to Hashem was to show this is the true way to get closer to Him: being modest. If a person wants to connect to Hashem, they need to avoid arrogance and walk humbly.

As we know, next Monday night begins Pesach and we have our Seder. At the Seder, there is a huge focus on the number four: there are four cups of wine, four questions, four verses that are expanded upon (which were stated when a person brought Bikkurim-First Fruits), and four sons. What is so special about the number four?

Six weeks ago, I had my fourth child so I decided to do some research about this number four, and after much searching, I found in an Art Scroll machzor the following answer: all of the “fours” are to remind us of another “four”. This “four” we are to remember is the four Mothers: Sara, Rivka, Rochel, and Leah. The reason we are to remember them on Pesach is because they are the ones whose merit we were redeemed through. These women passed their righteousness to their daughters and all of the Jewish daughters after them, and it is because of these women we were saved. A few week’s ago, we discussed the mirrors the women used during the years of slavery to convince their husbands to continue to raise Jewish children and how these mirrors saved the Jewish people! And where would we be without the great Yocheved and Miriam who raised Moshe Rabenu. The women saved us from the terrible slavery we lived through in Egypt, and the women are the ones whose merit will end this exile we are currently in (not to give any pressure to the women.) On the night of our Seder, let’s remember when we mention all of the things with the number “four” to remember the other “four” who redeemed us.

Personally, I would like to thank the most important women in my life: my mother, mother-in-law, and especially, my wife.

Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov!
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