Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Haste

"And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste, it is a Passover offering to HaShem."  
(Exodus 12:11)
Nisan 11, 5770/March 26, 2010

"Haste makes waste." That's what they tell us. And we tend to accept this as axiomatic. But is it necessarily true? Torah tells us otherwise. Torah tells us that haste is an essential ingredient of the redemptive process. Our forefathers seized the opportunity which G-d created for them and left Egypt in great haste. This need for haste was eternalized by the Torah commandment for all generations for each family of Israel to prepare a lamb for a korban Pesach - Passover offering - make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, slaughter the lamb within the Holy Temple courtyard, roast the lamb in Jerusalem, and eat the lamb in its entirety before midnight. This process of haste could, in many cases, extend over two weeks time, beginning with the pilgrimage preparations, and concluding, in an ever greater sense of haste, with the eating of the lamb. Since the destruction of the Holy Temple, from which point in time the korban Pesach has not been offered, this sense of urgency has been embodied by the intense Passover preparations made in each individual home, often exhausting, often conducted right to the last minute, and concluding with the Passover Seder, again, which must be concluded by midnight.

Why did G-d insist that the children of Israel eat the Passover offering in haste? After all, G-d planned and carried out every detail of the exodus from Egypt, beginning with His first call to Moshe, continuing throughout the ten plagues, and concluding with the korban Pesach and the midnight escape. Nothing was left to chance. Why the last-minute rush?

"Haste makes waste." Indeed. But "he who hesitates is lost":

"They baked the dough that they had taken out of Egypt as unleavened cakes, for it had not leavened, for they were driven out of Egypt, and they could not tarry, and also, they had not made provisions for themselves." (Exodus 12:39)

The "haste" (chipazon) described in verse eleven has now been modified to "could not tarry." A more accurate translation would be, "could not hesitate." The very word used, le-hit-ma-me-ah, with its repetitive ma-me implies uncertainty, repeating instead of moving forward. What was described earlier as haste, is not a waste-making haste, but an undeniable, almost unbearable urgency.

"The gates of repentance are always open to all who seek to enter." Another axiom. The opportunity for redemption - ge-ula - is also always at hand - for those who seek it urgently, for those who are willing discard their appointment books and personal calendars, jettison their vacation plans, reorder their priorities, and make all holy haste to grab it. When the sense of urgency is upon us, when ge-ula is for us the only option, so compelling that we are "unable to hesitate," then redemption is ours for the taking.

We are instructed that to properly observe the Passover holiday, we must see ourselves as having personally left Egypt. We do this by reliving the urgent sense of haste and unshakable resolve which, in the end, after each of the ten plagues had been visited upon Egypt, was the decisive factor in our escape from slavery and transformation into free men. With our loins girded, our shoes on our feet, and our staff in our hands, we stand again today, ready to turn our lives upside-down and inside-out, whatever it takes, to seize the moment, and bring on the redemption.

Temple TalkTune in to this week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven get ready for Passover... that is, as best as they can, without the most important ingredient of all, the Passover offering in the Holy Temple. How can we tolerate another Passover going by without Israel appearing before G-d in the Holy Temple, as instructed? The Passover offering is not only the main aspect of the holiday; it is an experience and Divine commandment which is intrinsically bound up with the very identity of the people of Israel.

The Rabbi & Yitzchak will be busy celebrating their freedom next week and will not be hosting a new Temple Talk until Tuesday, April 6.

The Four SonsThis week features the new Holiday Double-Feature Bat Melech video teaching with Rabbanit Rena Richman, entitled, "Why is This Night Different? An Introduction, and, The Four Sons: Educating our children is an essential aspect of a Torah lifestyle. The Passover Seder affords parents the perfect opportunity to teach their children." Click here to view.

The Korban Pesach ChallengeThis week also features the new Light to the Nations Holiday Double-Feature teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "The Korban Pesach Challenge: Why is the korban the central aspect of the Divine service, and what makes the korban Pesach the ultimate korban? Facing ourselves and facing G-d at the altar: the core elements of the offering service." Two-part teaching. Click here to view.

Also available on Youtube.

Passover PetitionThe Temple Institute has filed a petition on behalf of the entire nation of Israel, demanding the freedom to fulfill the Torah obligation to bring a korban Pesach, (Pascal offering) for slaughter on the Temple Mount. Click here to learn more.

Pesach in the Holy TempleLearn how Pesach was Celebrated in the Holy Temple, and why Passover is the pilgrimage festival par-excellence. Click here.

I LOVE THE TEMPLE MOUNTI LOVE THE TEMPLE MOUNT: If you love the Temple Mount and you want to shout it to the world, you can now download the high quality I LOVE THE TEMPLE MOUNT pdf artwork, suitable for framing, for tee-shirts, baseball caps, needlepoints and old fashioned samplers. Let the world know that your heart is with the Temple Mount - home of the Holy Temple! Click here to download.

Parashat HashavuaThe korban - offering: What's it all about, and what does it have to do with you? The korban chatat sin offering is not a "get out of jail free " proposition, but a life-changing experience that, if done with sincerity, compels the bringer of the korban to take stock of himself and re-prioritize who he is and where he stands before G-d. Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36).  

Chag Kasher veSameach from the holy city of Jerusalem,
  Yitzchak Reuven
  The Temple Institute

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