Vol 21.10 - Bo 3 Spanish French Audio Video
Remembering the Exodus and the Shabbos
Why does the Rambam find it necessary to liken the manner in which we remember the Exodus to the way in which we remember the Shabbos? Why doesn’t the verse “Remember this day on which you went out of Egypt” stand alone?
At the beginning of the laws of Shabbos the Rambam states: “Resting from labor on the seventh day is a positive command, for it is written,14 ‘On the seventh day you shall rest.’ Whoever performs labor at that time negates a positive command and transgresses a prohibitive commandment.” Thus Shabbos involves both the positive aspect of rest and the negative aspect of not performing labor.
The fact that the Rambam begins the laws of Shabbos with the positive command, notwithstanding the fact that most of the laws of Shabbos deal with prohibitions of various forms of labor, indicates that the main aspect of Shabbos observance lies in this positive aspect.
Both the negative and positive aspects of Shabbos derive from two sections in the Torah: In the section describing Creation the verse states:15 “He rested on the seventh day from all His labor which He had done. And G‑d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His labor …” — emphasizing that on this day there was both rest and cessation from labor.
In the section describing G‑d’s giving of the Torah, where the Jews are told: “Remember the day of Shabbos,” the verse goes on to state:16 “For in six days the L-rd made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.”
In other words, here we are told that Shabbos is unique not only in that G‑d ceased on it from the labor of the Six Days of Creation, but more importantly, that Shabbos is G‑d’s day of rest.
Thus, the more important part of “Remembering the day of Shabbos” is the positive sense of rest rather than the mere negation of labor, as our Sages state17 that after the completion of the Six Days of Creation the world was lacking rest and tranquillity. Only when Shabbos began did rest and tranquillity arrive. Or as the Rambam expresses it:18 “ ‘Remember it’ — a remembrance of praise and sanctification.”
With regard to the exodus from Egypt as well, we find two aspects:19 the release of the Jewish people from servitude, and the fact that we became a free, independent people.
This is similar to the condition achieved by every freed slave: His master’s dominion over him ceases; as a free man he becomes wholly his own person.
By connecting the tale of the Exodus on the fifteenth of Nissan to remembrance of the Shabbos, the Rambam is indicating that with regard to relating the events of the Exodus too, the main aspect is the positive step of becoming free.
For just as remembering the Shabbos involves not so much the negation of labor as the positive theme of rest, so too the obligation to relate the tale of the Exodus involves not so much the recalling of our release from slavery as the recounting of how we became free men.
Thus the Rambam goes on to say in the following law that even when one relates the tale of the Exodus to a son who is a minor or simpleton he should say: “On this night G‑d redeemed us and took us out to freedom ,” thereby emphasizing that G‑d enabled us to become free.
Consequently, the Rambam goes on to say20 that “An individual is obligated to conduct himself as if he himself had just gone out of Egypt” — “as if you yourself were enslaved, and you went out to freedom and were redeemed.”
One should conduct himself on this night as a free man.
Compiled from Likkutei Sichos , Vol. XXI, pp. 68-73.
11. Hilchos Chametz U’Matzah beg. of ch. 7.
1. Concerning the Mitzvah of recounting the Exodus from Egypt on the night of Pesach, Rambam states:
“It is a positive commandment of the Torah to relate the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, as it states: "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt," just as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”.
The commentators of Rambam ask:
1. What does Rambam mean when he says ‘just as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”. What is in the command of "Remember this day” that is not sufficient – that one must learn from the comparison to the verse: “Remember the Shabbat day”?
2. If one must indeed rely on the comparison to the remembrance of Shabbat - what is the source for this?
In Sefer HaMitzvot Rambam states:
“The Mechilta says: "Since the verse says, 'when your son will ask you,' you might think that you are required to discuss it only when he asks, and not otherwise. Therefore the Torah tells you, 'And you shall tell your child,' even if he doesn't ask. I only know (of the obligation to discuss the Exodus) when the person has a child. How do I know (this obligation applies) when he is by himself or with others? The verse says, 'And Moshe said to the people, "Remember this day" — that G‑d commanded us to remember the Exodus just as He commanded us, 'Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it. ' "
This means that from the verse: "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt", one learns that the Mitzvah of remembering the Exodus from Egypt is also “when he is by himself” – even when there is no son who asks – and on this Rambam adds as a proof: “In other words, just as He commanded us, 'Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it.’ –
This means that just as there is an obligation to remember the Shabbat day, “when he is (also) by himself”, so too , this obligation also exists by (the Mitzvah of recounting the Exodus, since it states:) “Remember this day".
Accordingly, it seemingly appears that that this is also the intent of the Sefer HaYad where he compares the Mitzvah of “Remember this day" to “remember the Shabbat day”,
(namely, that one is obligated to remember the Exodus even when he is alone).
And this is also apparent from the continuation of his words:
“From where (is it derived that this Mitzvah is to be fulfilled on) the night of the fifteenth? The Torah teaches: "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: 'It is because of this... (implying that the Mitzvah is to be fulfilled) when Matzah and Maror are placed before you. And (the Mitzvah applies) even though one does not have a son. Even great Sages etc.”
The plain meaning of this is that the source for the law that: ”even though one does not have a son” is from the previously cited verse: “Remember this day" where the words “son” etc. is not mentioned.
3. However, it is difficult to say that this is the (whole) reason that Rambam adds ‘just as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”.
For from the wording of the verse itself of “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt",
(and as aforementioned since it does not mention “son” or even “others”)
it is understood that the obligation to remember it is also when one is alone, as we see in the Mechilta itself – for there the verse “remember the Shabbat day” is not cited.
One can understand the Sefer HaMitzvot, why Rambam must rely on the remembrance of Shabbat - since the learning of the remembrance of the Exodus from the verse “Remember this day etc.” appears as an addition – since the beginning (and primary) of the lesson is
(and also in the Mechilta that he cites)
from the verse ('when your son will ask you,' and) 'And you shall tell your child,'
Therefore Rambam must forewarn that the verse refers to a type of remembrance that is not associated with ('when your son will ask you,' and) 'And you shall tell your child,' but rather with the remembrance of Shabbat, that even when one is alone there is an obligation of the Mitzvah to Remember the Exodus from Egypt -“Remember this day”.
Yet in Sefer HaYad, where the learning from the verse “Remember this day” is the only source for this obligation of recounting Yetzias Mitzrayim – how (מהיכא תיתי) does one learn that the verse ("this day" specifically) refers to a “son” and that he must cite remembering Shabbat to prove that it also refers to when one “is alone”?
4. The Migdal Oz cites the words of the aforementioned Mechilta and concludes:
“And R’ Moshe writes in his Sefer HaMitzvot that he commands one to remember it at its time (בזמנו ) (i.e ‘Remember this day’ means that one is commanded to remember it at it time) as it states remember the Shabbat day”.
According to this one could say that this is also the simple meaning of the aforementioned Halacha in Sefer HaYad:
Rambam is learning from the verse “"Remember this day, on which you left Egypt," that there is a unique positive commandment to recount Yetzias Mitzrayim on that day when it occurred.
(this is in addition to the obligation to remember Yetzias Mitzrayim throughout the year which we learn from the verse: “so that you remember the day of your Exodus from the land of Egypt all the days of your life.”)
And for this he cites the proof: “As it as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’” for there the remembrance is on that day itself.
(And afterwards Rambam continues:
“From where (is it derived that this Mitzvah is to be fulfilled on) the night of the fifteenth?”
because from the learning of the aforementioned verse: “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt,", one could say that the Mitzvah is immediately when the festival occurs or even in the middle of the day. Therefore Rambam continues and cites the verse "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: 'It is because of this... (implying that the Mitzvah is to be fulfilled) when Matzah and Maror are placed before you” – that the obligation of recounting is the night of the fifteenth).
This, however, is not sufficient:
For according to this
(in addition to that which regarding Shabbat itself, the proof that the remembrance must be on the day itself – is from the word “to sanctify it” which is stated after the words: ‘‘Remember the Shabbat day’” – and if this would have been the (only) intent of Rambam – he could have just cited the word “to sanctify it”)
it is therfore not understood:
If Rambam wanted to elucidate this unique Mitzvah – he did not have to cite, at all, the learning from the verse: “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt".
(and therefore the necessity to add the proof “as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”)
For the verse from where we learn the obligation for the night of the fifteenth of Nisan is immediately cited after this – namely "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: 'It is because of this”?
5. It appears that the source of Rambam‘s words are from the Midrash Shmot Rabbah in our Parsha (as other commentators say). For there, the remembrance of Yetzias Mitzrayim is (explicitly) equated to the remembrance of Shabbat.
The Midrash states:
“Warn Yisroel that just as I created the world and I said to them, to Yisroel, to remember the Shabbat day as a remembrance for Creation, as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’” – so too they should remember the miracles that I wrought for them in Egypt and they should remember the day that they went out from there as it states: ‘Remember this day, on which you left Egypt’".
One must however understand:
The Sefer HaYad is a book whose purpose is Halachot/laws and not just a sefer that cites the homilies of the Sages. Therefore what is the halacha in recounting Yetzias Mitzrayim that one learns from the aforementioned comparison?
The explanation in this is:
The intent of Rambam, regarding the Halacha of Yetzias Mitzrayim, is to explain the difference in the nature of the obligation of remembering Yetzias Mitzrayim, between the night of the fifteenth of Nisan versus that of the Mitzvah (to remember Yetzias Mitzrayim) the whole year.
The additional aspect in the Mitzvah on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan is not (just) that in which
But rather there is a difference in the nature and essence of the Mitzvah – namely, the remembering for:
And this is learned from the comparison to “Remember the Shabbat day”.
In the verse “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt", it is not clear and emphasized that the remembrance (on (the night) of Pesach must be to “to recount the wonders and miracles etc.”.
Rambam therefore clarifies that the “Remembrance” here is “as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”. For remembering Shabbat is a remembrance of Creation (מעשה בראשית),
(As it states in conjunction to “Remember the Shabbat day”: “For in six days G-d created etc".)
This coincides with the words of the aforementioned Midrash that: ’just as I created the world . . to remember the Shabbat day as a remembrance for Creation . . so too they should remember the miracles that I wrought for them in Egypt“.
6. On a deeper level, one could say:
The comparison to “Remember the Shabbat day” is not just a source for the obligation “to recount the wonders and miracles etc.” but it is additionally also a preparation to the subsequent Halachot in the chapter.
Rambam states in the preface to Hilchot Shabbat:
“Resting from labor on the seventh day fulfills a positive commandment, as it states, "And you shall rest on the seventh day." Anyone who performs a labor on this day negates the observance of a positive commandment and also transgresses a negative commandment”.
This means that there are two aspects regarding Shabbat –
Since Rambam begins Hilchot Shabbat with mentioning the positive commandment
(even though the majority of the laws of Shabbat are in the aspects of its negative commandments – in the details of the Melachot – the thirty-nine main activities (Avot) and their subcategories (toldot) etc.)
it is understood that the main aspect of keeping Shabbat is not the aspect of refraining and the negation of labor, but rather the positive aspect (ענין חיובי) –“the performance of rest and not the negation of work (״העשה מנוחה ולא ביטול מלאכה״ - ל׳ הצפע"נ הל׳ שבת רפכ״א). In this there is also a distinction in Halacha (as the Rogotchover Rabbi explains).
7. One could say that the two aspects of Shabbat:
stem from the two Parshiot and verses which discuss Shabbat:
1. At Creation – “And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for on it He rested from all His work” – for that day was the resting and abstention from work.
2. At Matan Torah – in conjunction with the verse: “Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it” as it states: “For in six days G-d made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore G-d blessed the Shabbos and made it holy” –
In this case, the distinction of Shabbat is not (just) because that, on that day Creation was completed –“(as it states: "For (six days) G-d made . . He rested . .from all His work” but (even more so) because “He rested on the seventh day”.
And in conjunction with this is also the innovation of “Remember the Shabbat day”, the remembrance of Shabbat, whose nature and aspect is the positive aspect of Shabbat.
In other words – not (just) remembering that the day is different from the other days because one may not do work. But (also) because it has within it a positive aspect -“He rested on the seventh day”, as the Sages say that the world was lacking rest. When Shabbat came . . rest came” (Ba Shabbat ba menucha).
And this is manifested in the remembrance of Shabbat as Rambam states: “remember it with remembrances of praise and sanctification” (זכרהו זכירת שבח וקידוש).
8. Accordingly one could say that this is also the intent of Rambam with the comparison of the remembrance of Yetzias Mitzrayim to the remembrance of Shabbat - that even in the recounting of Yetzias Mitzrayim – the main thing is – the positive aspect in it.
The explanation of this is:
By Yetzias Mitzrayim the Bnei Yisroel accomplished two things:
This is similar to the going out and freeing of every slave that it entails:
(These are two distinct things - as we find regarding the freeing of a slave at Yovel – that these two aspects happen at two different times. As Rambam states:
“From Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur, servants would not be released to their homes, nor would they be subjugated to their masters . . When Yom Kippur arrives and the shofar is sounded in the court, the servants are released to their homes”)
Rambam, thus explains and innovates this concept – namely that just by (the remembrance) of Shabbat the primary focus is not (so much) the negative aspect (the abstention of work) but the positive aspect (the rest/menucha) – so too the obligation of recounting the Exodus from Egypt is not (so much) in the negative aspect– the going out of Bnei Yisroel from the servitude and poverty of Pharaoh – but mainly in the positive aspect – their becoming free (bnei chorin).
Indeed, Rambam emphasizes this immediately in the second Halacha:
Rambam explains that even in the simplest and most germane recounting of Yetzias Mitzrayim – in other words, how one would tell it to a “young or foolish” son – for example by saying:
"My son, in Egypt, we were all slaves like this maidservant or this slave.”
Rambam does not continue concisely
(which would have been more fitting, seemingly, to the speaking to a “young or foolish” son)
by saying that “On this night, we went out from there” or something similar,
but rather (Rambam continues by saying) -
“On this night, the Holy One, Blessed be He, redeemed us and took us out to freedom"
which explains and emphasizes
(not just that G-d redeemed us by taking us out of Egypt.",but rather)
that G-d made us free (Bnei chorin).
Therefore it comes out, as Rambam continues, that the verse:
“In each and every generation, a person must present himself as if he, himself, has now left the slavery of Egypt”,
in a manner that:
“as if you, yourself, were a slave and went out to freedom and were redeemed” -
means that we became free (bnei chorin).
Therefore, Rambam writes that
“when a person feasts on this night, he must . . recline in the manner of free men” (דרך חירות)
for the conduct of this night must be as a free man (bnei chorin) - “in the manner of free men”.
9. One could say that Rambam learns this also from the aforementioned Midrash. For the conclusion of the Midrash states:
("Remember this day, on which you left Egypt,"). Why? Because with a strong hand G-d took you out of Egypt” (כי בחוזק יד הוציאך ה׳ ממצרים).
The reason that we needed a “strong hand” – namely a special act of G-d (the wonders and miracles etc.) when leaving Egypt – is
not (so much) because of the negative – the going out of the subjugation of Egypt. Because the decree from the onset was that “They will enslave them and oppress them (for) four hundred years”. Therefore at the culmination of the “four hundred years” the Yidden automatically would have had to go out from (the subjugation of) Egypt. But rather it is
because of the positive aspect – to make the Yidden free men – a separate people - free (bnei chorin).
For as long as we are a people (which is forever –an everlasting nation), we are free (bnei chorin).
And this coincides with what Rambam emphasizes in the continuation of the chapter that the reason that “One must . . conclude with (our ancestors') praise” is because :“One concludes with the true faith: how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness. . . and concludes with the miracles and wonders that were wrought upon us, and our freedom.”
10. It has been discussed many times that when we learn one aspect from another aspect, even when it is, seemingly, just a proof for us
(for in order that we may know the thing, we must learn it from the other aspect)
nevertheless, for the completeness of Torah (שלימות התורה)
(and accordingly – for the epitome of precision in the all of its particulars)
one must accept that in the innermost aspects (בפנימיות הענינים) , the thing that is taught is
(not just setting and learning the manner of the thing that is being learned, but it is also
the reason or the cause of the thing that is being learned
(itself, or at the least from its effluence (המשכה) and revelation (גילוי) to us).
In our case, we can visibly see, and as is known, that in the words of Rambam in his books, there are aspects of Pnimiyut HaTorah. However, they are not revealed, but rather hidden and in a manner of allusion.
It is explained in Chassidut that the two aforementioned aspects in Shabbat -
are two levels in Shabbat:
The general aspect of Shabbat is “You shall call the Shabbat a delight” the aspect of delight/Oneg (עונג)
There are two levels in Oneg:
The Oneg from that which one is abstaining from his work. In other words (as this is exemplified by man below) this means that his powers, which have been drawn down and contracted into the work and deed, return to their source in the soul - and because of this he has delight (תענוג).
However that pleasure is still connected to work. He has relief from his struggles and he also has a particular pleasure which is connected with the (resting from a) specific labor.
Above this, however, is the pleasure that is connected with relaxation itself (which comes after the pleasure of resting from his work). In that instance, the essence of pleasure is revealed which is higher from that which has a relationship to the specific labor of the world – and work , in general.
These are the two levels of:
Shamor is “Nukvah/ לנוקבא” (The female aspect) which is associated with the night of Shabbat. And in general, in G-dliness, this is the the level of immanent life-giving Divine illumination (memaleh kol almin - lit. “filling all worlds”), which has a connection to the world. During the six weekdays this light is drawn down and contracted, as it were, in the world. On the night of Shabbat (by refraining from work) the “garment is nullified” (batel halevush/ בטל הלבוש – the constriction is nullified) and it illuminates in a revealed manner (מאיר בגילוי).
Zachor is “Duchrah/ לדכורא” ( the male aspect) which is the level of the Shabbat day – the revelation of the transcendental light (soveiv kol almin) which is above division and enclothing (העכער פון התחלקות און התלבשות) in the deed and work – absolute resting (מנוחה בעצם).
Therefore we find that of all the Yomim Tovim, only Pesach is explicitly called “Shabbat” because the miracles and wonders that were completely above nature, at the Geulah from Egypt, are connected to the this (higher) level of Shabbat.
And this is what Rambam means when he states that the (Mitzvah to) “relate the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt . . as it states: "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt," is “just as it states: ‘Remember the Shabbat day’”.
In other words, it means that the positive aspect of “relating the miracles and wonders” of Yetzias Mitzrayim is taken from ‘Remember the Shabbat day’” – from the positive aspect of Shabbat and resting, of its own accord, which represents a level which a is completely higher than the world, coming down into the world in a manner of miracle and wonder/ פלא(meaning open wonders , not miracles enclothed in nature).
And because of this itself, the completeness of freedom of Yidden was manifested, in a manner that, from then on, they could never again be slaves.
For Geulah is taken from the level of Shabbat – the world of freedom (עלמא דחירו). And because of this, the Yidden were lifted higher than the constraints and boundaries of Seder HaHishtalshelut.
And the completeness of this will be in the Future Geulah, mamosh speedily, where there will be a true and complete freedom/ חירותand Geulah that is revealed, and also there will be revealed miracles and wonders (as it states:) “As in the days of your Exodus from the land of Egypt, I will show him wonders.”. And especially on the day that “will be all Shabbat and rest for life everlasting” (ביום שכולו שבת ומנוחה לחיי העולמים).
mSichas Acharon Shel Pesach 5740
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