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Shabbat Pesach 5778

Ein Ayah: Maror and Korech

(condensed from Olat Reiyah, Rav Kooks Commentary on the Haggada)

Matza is a remembrance of freedom and serves as a reminder that all the ways of Hashem are reliable results that follow the true general nature of the Nation of Israel. True freedom is to develop according to the nation’s internal nature, without allowing the intermingling of foreign elements that disturb matters.   

Besides that which affects the essential spirit, there are also spiritual impurities that stuck on to us that do not allow the pure Jewish nature to express itself. For this reason, it is necessary for a Jew to accept upon himself a certain type of pleasant servitude, in which we are servants to Hashem, Who created us from the time we were in our mothers’ wombs to be His servants. The servitude to Egypt actually enabled us to acquire this ability to act as servants, so that when all the unwanted forms of servitude fall off, we will be left with the good type, which enables a person to put up with difficulties with love. This is the idea behind maror – to accept with love the bitterness of life, when he knows that there is a lofty reason that necessitates it. That is the reason that maror follows matza.

We mention before eating the matza and maror together that it is a remembrance of the Beit Hamikdash like Hillel. Hillel’s attribute was to love and pursue peace, love other people, and draw them closer to the Torah, which is what keeps the nation attached to sanctity. Peace is something that must extend to Jews in all areas of dispersion and despite all sorts of philosophical disputes. The light of liberation that accompanies the remembrance of Pesach and matza sweetens for us the imprint of the bitterness and pain of exile and the physical and spiritual pains that maror represents. May we merit the complete liberation, in which a canopy of peace and the light of truth will engulf us soon.

[There is great depth to the joining together of matza and maror after they were eaten separately.] We must understand that the power of servitude and the power of freedom are not two disconnected forces with each one reserved for one element of life. Rather these concepts are interconnected and complement each other.

The power of freedom symbolized by matza shows the internal uniqueness of Israel, which enables them to naturally love Hashem and love His Torah and mitzvot. This also gives strength to an individual to overcome individual tendencies, which cause a person to lag behind the highest level that is destined for the nation. While they appear to be at odds with the good and pleasant way, when the strength of freedom is victorious, its special character will be displayed wonderfully.

There is thus much to be gained from each power being dominant and even unopposed by its counter power in the realm in which it is appropriate. Where freedom belongs, servitude should not be present to hold it back. Conversely, in a realm where the good type of servitude is appropriate, the desire for freedom should not intrude. That is why matza and maror should be eaten separately.

However, the above is true only on the level of the individual. The ultimate goal will be realized only when there is a recognition that freedom and servitude are not really conflicting but are actually connected in a manner that gives the world the highest type of freedom – one which is clear only when it has along with it the crown of lofty servitude, i.e., servitude to Hashem, which is actually the most complete freedom. That is the reason that complete freedom comes when it is “rolled up together” with servitude. Then man will find full dominion in a manner that is fitting for a truly free person, who rules over even the greatest of powers, i.e., the power of freedom itself.
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