Tag Archive: chassidic

Pesach and The Octomom

The Sefat Emet (see Naso 5651 and Vaeira 56) reveals that one of the underlying reasons for the Egyptian exile was to rectify the sin of eating from the forbidden fruit, and by extension, return the world to its original state.

Consequently,we find the midwives described the Hebrew women to Pharaoh saying, “Ki chayot heinah.” The simple meaning of this expression is that the women were like chayot, animals, because according to the Talmud (Berachot 63b), they were all miraculously giving birth to six children at a time!

However, Tiferet Shlomo, explaining this verse from an esoteric perspective, reveals that they had now reached the level of “Chayah,” the level of Chavah (Eve) prior to the sin, and so the curse or difficulty in childbirth no longer existed for them. Accordingly, Tiferet Shlomo (Ki Sisa, p. 71a) says, if not for the sin of the Golden Calf, the world would have reached a perfect state of rectification(also see Shnei Luchot HaBrit 74a and Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, Chap. 45, 107a for further analysis on this topic).

In light of the above, when you think of the leaders of the Exodus, the first names that probably come to your mind are that of Moses and his brother Aaron. And yet, The Talmud (Sotah 11b) relates: “In the merit of the righteous women of that generation, the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt!” In other words , the driving force towards God performing the plethora of miracles and splitting the Red Sea were none other than the Jewish women and the feminine leadership of the time.

To that end, I found it appropriate that on the Shabbat that proceeds Pesach,the weekly Torah Tidbits had an entire article dedicated to discussing the halachic ramifications of a women who recently birthed many children at one time: The Octomom.

Check out the entire article from The Puah Institute, titled: The Octomom and Halacha here (scroll down to the highlighted section).

Pesach and Music

While we have been cleaning for Pesach for about several weeks now, these past couple of days, there’s been one artist that has arguably gotten a lot of “air time” in our house as of late: Eitan Katz. Not only am I priviliged to call him both a friend and former classmate, but his niggunim reflect a certain tone of kedusha that permeats from the simplicity of the music. As such, I wanted to share with you his Dvar Torah Email that he sent out. If you are in the mood for some great Jewish music to listen to while cleaning for Passover, I’d recommend that you download any of his albums. You will feel relaxed and spiritually uplifted as you scrub, clean, and prepare for Pesach!

Dear Friends,

As Pesach is approaching, I wanted to share with you a beautiful idea which connects Yetzias Mitzrayim to the power of music.  In Likutey Torah on Pesach, the Ba’al Hatanya writes that the Yetzias Mitzrayim which took place thousands of years ago still takes place every day within the heart of every Jew.  Mitzrayim comes from the word Meitzar, narrow, rigid, boundaries.  When Klal Yisroel left Mitzrayim they did not only leave the physical boundaries of the land of Egypt but also broke through the mental and spiritual boundaries which Mitzrayim so tightly kept around them.

Every day, The Ba’al Hatanya writes, a Jew has the power to leave his own boundaries.  I know for myself, and for sure many people can relate to this, that in this crazy world, we feel like we are in our own spiritual jail, not being able to serve Hashem the way we want to.  Pesach is a reminder for us that just like there was a Yetzias Mitzrayim a long time ago, the same Yetzias Mitzrayim- the leap out of one’s boundaries, can be done today.  And here is where the connection to music comes.  The Ba’al Hatanya writes that because the first Yetzias Mitzrayim was eternal, we can look at the way they had acted then during the process of leaving, and apply it to our life right now.

The first act which Klal Yisroel did as a “free” nation was……SING!!!  After they crossed the sea, looked back and saw that the nightmare was over and that Hashem had taken them out completely form mitzrayim, they sang Shiras Hayam.  This wasn’t a coincidence, the Ba’al Hatanya writes.  The natural expression of someone that has just reached beyond their natural boundaries is singing.

Why?

Because when one sings, that is also an expression of leaving one’s boundaries.  How many times have we sat around the shabbos table, or at an uplifting concert or kumzitz, where we felt that singing just takes us to places where we never have been before.  When we sing emmesdik nigunim, the feeling should be that we are reaching beyond the places where we thought we couldn’t reach.  This, my friends, is the way how to tell if a nigun is “kosher” or not.  Not by how many instruments is being played, not by the arrangements, not by any of the superficial garbage we have come in contact with.  The only way to identify a kosher nigun is if it makes you feel bigger and greater  than what you felt before.

With this Torah, I released my latest album last month.  I felt that each of the nigunim (whether mine or not) had the ability in them to bring the listener to a deeper and more meaningful connection to Hashem.  I felt that the nigunim would allow a person to see how deep their neshama really is.   And I tell everyone who buys the CD that this is what I felt, but if you don’t feel that way about the nigunim, if you feel they are just commercial and not uplifting, please do me favor- don’t listen to them!

If you haven’t purchased the CD yet, you can listen to clips and purchase it here.

I wish everyone a Chag Kasher V’sameach!

Eitan


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