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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 105th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
This week's issue focuses on the laws of the upcoming 8-day festive holiday of Pesach.
Therefore, we present here "Your Passover Guide,"* and other related material about Pesach.
It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
*) Published by Prestige Litho.
Special thanks to Mr. Reuven Nadler for his help.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.
Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.
The festival of Pesach calls for early and elaborate preparations to make the Jewish home fitting for the great festival. It is not physical preparedness alone that is required of us, but also spiritual preparedness--for in the life of the Jew the physical and spiritual are closely linked together, especially in the celebration of our Sabbath and festivals.
On Pesach we celebrate the liberation of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery and, together with it, the liberation from, and negation of the ancient Egyptian system and way of life, the "abominations of Egypt." Thus we celebrate our physical liberation together with our spiritual freedom. Indeed, there cannot be one without the other: There can be no real freedom without accepting the precepts of our Torah guiding our daily life; pure and holy life eventually leads to real freedom.
It is said, "In every generation each Jew should see himself as though he personally had been liberated from Egypt." This is to say, that the lesson of Pesach has always a timely message for the individual Jew. The story of Pesach is the story of the special Divine Providence which alone determines the fate of our people. What is happening in the outside world need not affect us; we might be singled out for suffering, G-d forbid, amid general prosperity, and likewise for safety amid a general plague or catastrophe. The story of our enslavement and liberation of which Pesach tells us gives ample illustration of this. For the fate of our people is determined by its adherence to G-d and His Prophets.
This lesson is emphasized by the three principal symbols of the Seder, concerning which our Sages said that unless the Jew explains their significance he has not observed the Seder fittingly: Pesach, Matzah and Morror. Using these symbols in their chronological order and in accordance with their Haggadah explanation we may say: the Jew can avoid Morror (bitterness of life) only through Pesach (G-d's special care "passing over" and saving the Jewish homes even in the midst of the greatest plague), and Matzah--then the very catastrophe and the enemies of the Jews will work for the benefit of the Jews, driving them in great haste out of "Mitzrayim," the place of perversion and darkness, and placing them under the beam of light and holiness.
One other important thing we must remember: the celebration of the festival of freedom must be connected with the commandment "You shall tell it to your child." The formation and existence of the Jewish home, as of the Jewish people as a whole, is dependent upon the upbringing of the young generation, both boys and girls: the wise and the wicked (temporarily), the simple and the one who knows not what to ask. Just as we cannot shirk our responsibility towards our child by the excuse that "my child is a wise one; he will find his own way in life; therefore no education is necessary for him," so we must not despair by thinking "the child is a wicked one; no education will help him." For, all Jewish children, boys and girls, are "G-d's children," and it is our sacred duty to see to it that they all live up to their above-mentioned title; and this we can achieve only through a kosher Jewish education, in full adherence to G-d's Torah. Then we all will merit the realization of our ardent hopes: "In the next year may we be free; in the next year may we be in Jerusalem!"
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
What is Chometz?
Unique to Pesach is the eating of matzah, and the stringent prohibition of eating or possessing chometz.
Chometz is a general term for all food and drink made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, which is forbidden on Pesach because it is leavened. Even a food that contains only a trace of chometz is prohibited and must be removed from our homes.
Getting Rid of Chometz
Obvious chometz--both food and utensils used throughout the year (and not "koshered" for Pesach)--should be stored in closets or rooms that are not easily accessible (locked or taped shut). This chometz should be sold to a non-Jew, as will be explained.
Clean the entire house thoroughly to remove all crumbs and small pieces of food.
Also check for chometz in the car and office (desks and drawers, etc.), clothes, pockets (especially the children's), pocketbooks and attache cases. Vacuum cleaner bags should be discarded or cleaned.
While shopping for Pesach we must be careful that the foods we buy are not only kosher but are also kosher-for-Pesach--that is, chometz-free.
Starting 'from Scratch'
All fresh fruits and vegetables as well as all kosher cuts of meat and kosher fish are kosher-for-Pesach--provided they have been prepared in accordance with Jewish law and have not come into contact with chometz or chometz utensils.
The prevailing [Ashkenazic] custom is that on Pesach we do not eat rice, millet, corn, mustard, legumes (beans, etc.) or foods made from one of them.
Commercially Prepared Products
Nowadays, there are many kosher-for-Pesach packaged foods available. However, care must be used to purchase only those packaged foods that have a reliable Rabbinical supervision that is valid for Pesach.
Obviously, all leavened foods made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt are actual chometz and are prohibited on Pesach. Examples are bread, cake, cereal, spaghetti, beer and whiskey.
Check that Medicine Cabinet!
Many medicines, sprays and cosmetics contain chometz. Consult a competent Rabbi as to which ones may be used on Pesach. The same applies to pet food.
To prepare the kitchen for Pesach, we must "kosher" it from chometz that has been cooked in it.
Dishes and Utensils
Have special sets of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and other utensils for Pesach use only. (If necessary, certain year-round utensils may be used provided they are "koshered" for Pesach. To do so, consult a Rabbi.)
Thoroughly clean and scour every part of it. Heat the oven to the highest temperature possible for 1-2 hours. Heat the grates and the iron parts of the stove (and elements if electric) until they glow red-hot. It is suggested that the oven and stove-top be covered afterwards with aluminum foil.
Clean the oven thoroughly. Fill a completely clean container, that was not used for 24 hours, with water. Turn on the microwave and let it steam heavily. Turn it off and wipe out the inside. To use the microwave during Pesach, use a flat piece of styrofoam or any other thick object as a separation between the bottom of the oven and the cooking dish. When cooking, the food should be covered on all sides.
Meticulously clean the sink. For 24 hours before "koshering" it, do not pour hot water from chometz pots into it. Afterwards, boil water in a clean pot that was not used for 24 hours, and pour it 3 times onto every part of the sink, including the drain stopper. Afterwards, line the sink.
Refrigerator, Freezer, Cupboards, Closets, Tables and Counters
Thoroughly clean and scrub them to remove any crumbs and residue. Afterwards, cover those surfaces that come into contact with hot food or utensils with a heavy covering.
Tablecloths and Napkins
Launder without starch.
Since it is prohibited to possess chometz on Pesach, we need to sell to a non-Jew all chometz that will not be eaten or burned before Pesach and all chometz utensils that will not be thoroughly cleaned by then. These are stored away in closets or rooms while preparing for Pesach. Now we lock or tape-shut the closets or rooms, and they are leased to the non-Jew at the time of the sale.
Since there are many legal intricacies in this sale, only a competent Rabbi should be entrusted with its execution. The Rabbi acts as our agent both to sell the chometz to the non-Jew on the morning before Pesach starts and also to buy it back the evening after Pesach ends.
For a sale of chometz contract, contact your local Rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
For the text of a "Contract for Sale of Chometz":
On the night before the eve of Pesach, Sunday, April 20, make a formal search of the home for chometz while holding a lit candle. It is customary to distribute ten small, individually wrapped pieces of chometz throughout the home before the search.
Recite the following blessing before the search:
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Al Be-or Cho-metz.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the removal of leaven.
Afterwards, hold the lit candle and search for chometz in every room, as well as any other area of the home that may have chometz, such as the basement, attic, garage or car.
When the search is complete, recite the following:
All leaven or anything leavened that is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which I am unaware, shall be considered naught and ownerless as the dust of the earth.
Then take all the chometz that was found in the search, cover it securely and place it in a conspicuous spot, to be burned in the morning. Food intended to be sold or eaten later should similarly be carefully put aside. The search should also be conducted in one's place of business.
Burning the Chometz
On the morning before Pesach, Monday, April 21, burn the chometz that was found during the search, or that was left over from breakfast and not stored with the chometz that will be sold to the non-Jew. See the Pesach Calendar, for the deadline for burning it.
After the chometz has been thrown into the fire, recite the following:
All leaven or anything leavened that is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered naught and ownerless as the dust of the earth.
"Abolish the evil. . ."
While burning the chometz on the morning before Pesach, it is a custom in many communities to recite a special prayer that reveals something of the deep significance of this mitzvah:
"May it be Your will . . . that just as I remove the chometz from my house and from my possession, so shall You . . . purge the spirit of impurity from the earth, eradicate our evil inclination from within us, and grant us a heart of flesh to serve You in truth . . . and abolish the rule of evil from the earth . . . just as You annihilated Egypt and its idols, in those days, at this time. Amen, Selah."
On Monday, April 21, chometz may be eaten only in the early hours of the morning, until the time indicated on the Pesach Calendar. After that time only foods which are kosher-for-Pesach may be eaten. However, we do not eat matzah until the Seder.
Fast of the Firstborn
When the Al-mighty slew the firstborn of Egypt, He spared the firstborn of the Children of Israel. Therefore, all firstborn sons of Israel, or fathers of firstborn sons under 13, fast on the day before Pesach, in gratitude to the Al-mighty.
It has, however, been a custom for many centuries that this fast day is broken by a festive meal in celebration of the conclusion of the study of a book of the Talmud. This usually takes place in the synagogue. Contact your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the exact time.
Burning the Chometz
See above Burning the Chometz
Before sunset, prepare the chicken neck, horseradish and charoset for both Seder nights.
For the second Seder, set the table and prepare the meal after the first day of Yom Tov ends. See the Pesach Calendar, for the exact time.
We do not eat any kind of roasted meat on either Seder night.
JEWISH WOMEN AND GIRLS LIGHT YOM TOV & SHABBAT CANDLES
For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Sunday, April 20
Monday, April 21
Tuesday, April 22
Friday, April 25
Saturday, April 26
Sunday, April 27
Monday, April 28
Tuesday, April 29
1. If lighting after sunset, light only from a pre-existing flame.
A preexisting flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival, such as a pilot light, gas or candle flame.
2. Do not light before the times indicated. Light only from a preexisting flame.
3. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.
4. See above, footnote #1.
5. See above, footnote #2.
CANDLE LIGHTING BLESSINGS
After lighting the candles, recite:
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Tov.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Yom Tov light.
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-yi-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Sha-bos Ko-desh.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.
The first two nights of Pesach, we conduct a Seder--a festive yet solemn event. At a table royally set with our best crystal and silver and the finest of kosher wines, we reenact the Exodus from Egypt in ancient times. We also pray for the forthcoming Redemption speedily in our days.
In the Footsteps of our Forefathers
At the Seder, each person considers himself as if he were going out of Egypt. We begin with our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; we are with our people as they descend into exile, and suffer cruel oppression and persecution. We are with them when G-d sends the ten plagues to punish Pharaoh and his nation, with them as they leave Egypt and with them at the crossing of the Reed Sea. And we witness the miraculous hand of G-d as the waters part, allowing the Israelites to pass, and then return, thundering over the Egyptian legions.
We left Egypt in such haste that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise, and we ate matzah, unleavened bread. With only this unleavened food our ancestors faithfully relied on the Al-mighty to provide sustenance for our entire nation of men, women and children. Each year to remember this, we eat matzah the first two nights of Pesach and fulfill the commandment of "Matzahs shall you eat . . ."
The Humblest of Foods
The matzah itself symbolizes faith. For in contrast to leavened food, the matzah is not "enriched" with oil, honey, etc. It is rather simple flour and water, which is not allowed to rise. Similarly, the only "ingredients" for faith are humility and submission to G-d, which comes from the realization of our "nothingness" and "intellectual poverty" in the face of the infinite wisdom of the creator.
Shmurah means watched, and is an apt description of this matzah (unleavened bread). The wheat used is carefully watched (protected) against any contact with water from the moment of harvest, since water would cause leavening, and thus disqualify the wheat for use on Pesach.
These matzahs are round in form, kneaded and shaped by hand, similar to the matzahs baked by the Children of Israel on their way out of Egypt. They are baked under strict Rabbinical supervision to avoid any possibility of leavening during the baking process. Shmurah matzah should be used on each of the two Seder nights for the three matzahs of the Seder plate.
To enhance the observance and beauty of your Pesach Seder table, your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center is making available, at cost price, tasty, handmade shmurah matzah.
For a more meaningful and happy Pesach, have shmurah matzah at your Seder table. Call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center to order shmurah matzah.
The Pesach Seder is not just to be observed symbolically. Each of its physical "acts" has great significance and should be fulfilled properly to make the Seder a meaningful and truly spiritual experience.
The Main Mitzvot
The main mitzvot (commandments) of the Seder are:
1. To eat matzah.
2. To tell the story of the Exodus (the reciting of the main parts of the Haggadah).
3. To drink four cups of wine.
4. To eat morror--bitter herbs.
5. To recite "Hallel"--praise to G-d (found towards the end of the Haggadah).
On each of the two Seder nights shmurah matzah should be used.
Matzah is eaten 3 times during the Seder:
1. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt--Motzie Matzah--two ounces of matzah are eaten.
2. For the "sandwich"--korech--one ounce of matzah is eaten.
3. As the Afikomen at the end of the meal--Tzofun--1-1/2 ounces of matzah are eaten.
In each instance, the matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes.
How much is one ounce of matzah?
Half a piece of shmurah matzah is generally one ounce.
If other matzahs are used, the weight of the box of matzahs divided by the number of pieces shows how much matzah equals 1 ounce.
For each of the four cups at the Seder it is preferable to use undiluted wine only. However, if needed, the wine may be diluted with grape juice. Of course, someone who can not drink wine may use straight grape juice.
One drinks a cup of wine four times during the Seder:
1. At the conclusion of Kiddush.
2. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, before eating the matzah of Motzie Matzah.
3. At the conclusion of the Grace After Meals.
4. After reciting the "Hallel."
It is preferable to drink the entire cup each time. However, it is sufficient to drink just the majority of each cup.
How large a cup should be used?
One containing at least 3-1/2 fluid ounces.
The morror is eaten by itself after the matzah, and then together with the matzah in the (korech) sandwich.
How much morror should be eaten?
Any of two different types of morror may be used at the Seder, individually or in combination:
1. Peeled and grated raw horseradish. 3/4 ounce has a volume of 1 fluid ounce.
2. Romaine lettuce. It is suggested that the stalks rather than the leafy parts be used because of the difficulty in properly examining and ridding the leafy parts of commonly present very small insects. 3/4 ounce of stalks cover an area of 3" X 5."
The K'ahrah--the Seder Plate
Three matzahs are placed on the table, one on top of the other. They are symbolic of the three types of Jews: Kohen, Levi and Yisroel. They also commemorate the three measures of fine flour that Abraham told Sarah to bake into matzahs when the three angels visited them. And when we later break the middle matzah, we are still left with two whole loaves for lehchem mishne, as on all Sabbaths and Festivals.
On a cloth spread over the three matzahs, or on a plate, the following items are placed:
BAYTZAH Z'ROAH MORROR KARPAS CHAROSET CHAHZERET
1. Z'roah--the roasted chicken neck.
Preparation: remove most of the meat from the neck of a chicken and roast it on all sides.
It is symbolic of the pascal sacrifice brought at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the afternoon before Pesach.
2. Baytzah--the hard boiled egg.
It is symbolic of the festival sacrifice brought at the Holy Temple, in addition to the pascal lamb.
3. Morror--bitter herbs (Horseradish and/or Romaine lettuce stalks).
It is symbolic of the bitter suffering of the Jews in Egypt.
4. Charoset--the mixture of chopped apples, pears, walnuts and a small amount of wine (red, if possible).
The mixture resembles mortar, symbolic of the mortar used by the Israelites to make bricks while enslaved in Egypt.
5. Karpas--the cooked potato or raw onion.
6. Chahzeret--more bitter herbs.
Used as morror in the sandwich (korech) later in the Seder.
The Seder service begins with the recitation of Kiddush, proclaiming the holiness of the holiday. This is done over a cup of wine, and on this evening it is the first of four cups that we all drink, reclining, at the Seder.
The Four Cups of Wine
Two of the explanations of the four cups:
Four expressions of freedom or deliverance are mentioned in the Torah in connection with our liberation from Egypt (Ex. 6:6,7).
The Children of Israel, even while in Egyptian exile, had four great merits:
(1) they did not change their Hebrew names;
(2) they did not change their Hebrew language;
(3) they remained highly moral; and
(4) they remained loyal to one another.
Wine is used because it is a symbol of joy and happiness.
Why We Recline
When drinking the four cups, as during most of the acts of the Seder, we lean on our left side to accentuate the fact that we are free people. In ancient times only free people were allowed to recline while eating.
We wash our hands in the usual prescribed manner of washing before a meal, but without the customary blessing.
The next step in the Seder, Karpas, requires dipping food into water. Such an act calls for purification of the hands by washing, beforehand. This observance is one of the first acts designed to arouse the child's curiosity.
A small piece of onion or boiled potato is dipped into salt water and eaten. Before eating, the blessing over vegetables is recited.
The dipping of this appetizer in salt water is an act of pleasure and freedom which further arouses the curiosity of the child.
The four-letter Hebrew word karpas when read backwards connotes that the 600,000 Jews in Egypt (the Hebrew letter samech=60, times 10,000) were forced to perform back-breaking labor (the other three Hebrew letters spell perech--hard work.)
The salt water represents the tears of our ancestors in Egypt.
Yachatz--Breaking the Matzah
The middle matzah of the three placed on the Seder plate is broken in two. The larger part is put aside for use later as the Afikomen. This unusual action not only attracts the child's special attention once again, but also recalls G-d's breaking the Reed Sea asunder, to make a path for the Children of Israel to cross on dry land. The smaller part of the middle matzah is returned to the Seder plate. This broken middle matzah symbolizes humility and will be eaten later as the "bread of poverty."
At this point the poor are invited to join the Seder; the Seder tray is moved aside; a second cup of wine is poured; and the child, by now bursting with curiosity, asks the time-honored question:
"Mah Nish-tah-no Hah-lailo Ha-zeh Me-kol Hah-leilot?" What makes this night different from all other nights?
(1) On all nights we need not dip even once; on this night we do so twice!
(2) On all nights we eat chometz or matzah, and on this night only matzah!
(3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night morror!
(4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!
The child's questioning triggers one of the most significant mitzvot of Pesach and the highlight of the Seder ceremony: the Haggadah, the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The answer includes a brief review of history, a description of the suffering imposed upon the Israelites, a listing of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, and an enumeration of the miracles performed by the Al-mighty for the formation and redemption of His people.
Rochtzoh--Washing before the Meal
After concluding the first part of the Haggadah with the drinking of the second cup of wine (reclining), the hands are washed --this time with the customary blessing, as usually done before eating bread.
Motzie Matzah--Eating Matzah
Taking hold of the three matzahs, the broken one between the two whole ones, recite the customary blessing before bread. Then, letting the bottom matzah drop back on the plate, and holding the top whole matzah with the broken middle one, recite the special blessing ". . . Al Ah-che-las Matzah."
Then break at least one ounce from each matzah and eat the two pieces together, reclining.
Morror--the Bitter Herbs
Take at least 3/4 ounce of the bitter herbs. Dip it in the charoset, then shake the latter off and make the blessing ". . . Al Ah-che-las Morror."
Eat without reclining.
In keeping with the custom instituted by Hillel, a great talmudic Rabbi, a sandwich of matzah and morror is eaten.
Break off two pieces of the bottom matzah, which together are at least one ounce. Again take at least 3/4 ounce of bitter herbs and dip them in charoset, then shake the latter off, and place them between the two pieces of matzah, say: "Kein Ah-saw Hillel. . ." and eat the sandwich reclining.
Shulchan Oreich--the Feast
The holiday meal is now served. We begin the meal with a hard-boiled egg dipped into salt water.
A Rabbi was once asked why Jews eat eggs on Pesach. "Because eggs symbolize the Jew," the Rabbi answered. "The more an egg is burned and boiled, the harder it gets."
Tzofun--"Out of Hiding"
After the meal, the half matzah that had been "hidden"--set aside for the Afikomen-- "dessert," is taken out and eaten. It symbolizes the pascal lamb that was eaten at the end of the meal.
Everyone should eat at least 1-1/2 ounces of matzah, reclining, before midnight. After the Afikomen, we do not eat or drink anything except for the two remaining cups of wine.
Bairach--Blessings after the Meal
A third cup of wine is filled and the Grace after Meals is recited. After reciting the Grace, we recite the blessing on wine and drink the third cup while reclining.
Now we fill the cup of Elijah and our own cups with wine. We open the door and recite the passage that symbolizes an invitation to the Prophet Elijah, who is the harbinger of the coming of Moshiach, our righteous Messiah.
Hallel--Songs of Praise
At this point, having recognized the Al-mighty, and His unique guidance of His people Israel, we go still further and turn to sing His praises as L-rd of the entire Universe.
After reciting the "Hallel," we again recite the blessing for wine and drink the fourth cup, reclining.
Having carried out the Seder service properly, we are sure that it has been well received by the Al-mighty. Then we say: "Leh-shah-na Hah-bah-ah Be-ye-ru-sha-law-yim"--Next year in Jerusalem!
On the second night of Pesach, we begin S'firat Ha'omer, counting forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the day when the Torah was given to the Children of Israel. This is done every night following the evening prayer leading up to the night before Shavuot.
The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism, instituted the custom of eating a special third meal on the last day of Pesach late in the afternoon, after Minchah, complete with matzah and wine.
This meal is known as the "Festive Meal of Moshiach," or Moshiach's Seudah, for on this day the radiance of Moshiach is openly revealed. Also, it is intended to deepen our awareness of the imminence of the final Redemption.
On this day, it is said, one can actually feel the approach of Moshiach. "Behold," says the verse in Song of Songs, "he is standing behind our wall, watching through the windows, peering through the crevices . . ."
Beginning in the year 5666/1906, it became customary in Lubavitch for the students of the Lubavitcher yeshivah to eat their Pesach meals together in the study hall. That year, the fifth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber, known as the Rebbe Rashab, joined the students for the third festive meal of the last day of Pesach, and directed that each of them be given four cups of wine.
The Rebbe once commented, that this was obviously intended to become an annual custom.
Moshiach's Seudah was instituted on the eighth day of Pesach, as the number eight is connected to the Redemption (being one more than seven--symbolic of the natural order) and the Haftorah read on the eighth day of Pesach contains many of the Messianic prophecies.
One might ask, what is the point of eating an actual, physical meal that relates to the subject of Moshiach? This festive meal causes the image and the feeling of the future Redemption to penetrate not only all the faculties of a person's soul, including his capacity for action, but his physical body as well--by means of the physical food that becomes part of his very flesh and blood. Partaking of this festive meal is intended to draw down the radiance of Moshiach into every aspect of one's daily life throughout the year.
This simply means--as an anticipatory echo of how the world will appear after the Redemption--that holiness should permeate all of a person's activities, including his physical activities, to the point that he is prepared to sacrifice the innermost core of his soul. This is the yechida within his soul, the element of Moshiach in his soul.
The Rebbe once explained, "The four cups of wine on the Seder night are the cups of Moses our teacher; the four cups of wine at Seudat Moshiach on the last day of Pesach are the cups of our righteous Moshiach."
* * *
Hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch Centers around the world will be hosting the traditional, mystical Moshiach's Seudah, on the last day of Pesach.
To find out about a Moshiach's Seudah near you, call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
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