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Shabbat Parashat Acharei Mot | 5768

Four Who Are One

Parashat HaShavuah

Harav Yosef Carmel

In the past, we have discussed the “four sons” of the seder based on the passages in the Torah that relate to them. We explained that the rasha asks about the Korban Pesach’s relevance because he is unwilling to renew the covenant with Hashem. The chacham is an intellectual, who investigates everything with his logic and is willing to accept only that which makes sense to him. He is only one step above the rasha. The meaning of tam in the Torah is of one with complete righteousness. Yet even the tam has questions about the redemption of the first-born donkey. The greatest tzaddik is he who does not ask at all. Even he has to open his mouth to eat matza, known as lechem ohni, the bread upon which much is said. All four sons are invited to our seder.

Let us take a look at a new approach based on the above principles. One of the concepts related to the Korban Pesach is the partnership and unity that surround it. From the fact that everyone is described as shechting it we learn that one’s agent is considered as if the appointer did the action (Rashi to Shemot 12:6). The Pesach is also eaten within a group setting known as a chabura, which is big enough to finish the animal in one night.

On the other hand, any attempt to blur the differences between different Jews is artificial and harms the richness that flows from the distinctions. The following approach allows us to “have our matza and eat it too.” It is possible that every Jew includes within him all of the four sons. Everyone has some type of inkling of a doubt or question on some matter of belief. The road to full and unquestioned belief is a long one, which has emotional difficulties along the way. The theoretical thought of lack of belief is something that everyone has dealt with, meaning that there is some rasha in all of us. Every Jew is required to use healthy logic to analyze his steps in life. At the end of the process we realize that we need to rely on Chazal to provide ultimate guidance, but “only to a drunk does the world seem straight.” Everyone sometimes acts with unquestioned faith. The question is only how frequently. He overcomes his physical weaknesses and brings expression to the fact that he is created in Hashem’s image. His tam element, even if often dormant, is always present. On rare occasions one can even serve Hashem with a “lofty silence” or a “thunderous noiselessness,” thus reaching the level of one who does not know to ask.

If all Jews have all of these elements then we are all connected in a real unity despite our apparent differences. Only if we actualize a strong unity in the style of “go assemble all of the Jews” (Esther 4:16), as we read thirty days before Pesach, is it possible to celebrate the festival properly. Let us hope that this message will help increase unity and a meeting of the hearts this coming seder night.

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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld


 Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of

Max and Mary Sutker

 and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

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