Friday, March 8, 2013

הגדה של פסח – עוד יוסף חי

הגדה של פסח – עוד יוסף חי

Haggadah based on the Teachings of Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik Zatza"l
Collected and semi-edited by Rabbi Ari Kahn
This is an unfinished work in progress, much of the material was collected from other students of the Rov, or from tapes of shiurim.  Perhaps one day this work will be completed, in interim I am allowing limited access so people can learn the Torah of Morenu Harav Zatza"l.
If you have any comments or observations – please contact me

(Korban pesach to be added)
סימני הסדר
1.     seder

The word seder is interesting and deliberate.
On Pesach the Rambam uses the word סדור   to describe the obligation of the night:

רמב"ם הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ח הלכה א
סדור עשיית מצוות אלו בליל חמשה עשר כך הוא: בתחלה מוזגין כוס לכל אחד ואחד ומברך בורא פרי הגפן ואומר עליו קדוש היום וזמן ושותה, ואחר כך מברך על נטילת ידים ונוטל ידיו, ומביאין שלחן ערוך ועליו מרור וירק אחר ומצה וחרוסת וגופו של כבש הפסח ובשר חגיגה של יום ארבעה עשר, ובזמן הזה מביאין על השלחן שני מיני בשר אחד זכר לפסח ואחד זכר לחגיגה.
The use of the term seder can be compared and contrasted with many tasks of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, where the Rambam utilizes similar language.

רמב"ם הלכות עבודת יום הכיפורים פרק ד
סדר כל המעשים שביום זה כך הוא: כחצות הלילה מפיסין לתרומת הדשן, ומסדרין את המערכה ומדשנין את המזבח כדרך שעושין בכל יום על הסדר שביארנו עד שיגיעו לשחיטת התמיד...

A close reading of the Rambam indicates that while on Yom Kippur there is a series of several actions whose performance constitutes one Mitzva, on Pesach there are many independent mitzvot. Why, then, does the Rambam use the term “sidur”? This terminology indicates that there is one major mitzva on this night, and numerous satellite mitzvot. The goal is to link the satellite mitzvot with the major mitzva. Telling the story of the Exodus is the main commandment. One example of an auxiliary commandment is eating the matza.
On the night of Pesach we have an obligation to eat matzah:
בָּעֶרֶב תֹּאכְלוּ מַצֹּת [שמות פרק יב:יח]
We also have an obligation to tell the tale of the Exodus.  The crux of the issue is that eating matzot must be linked with the Story of the Exodus. This is the purpose of the seder: to link the auxiliary mitzvot with the main mitzvah of the night. This idea is encapsulated later in the Haggadah:
בַּעֲבוּר זֶה לֹא אָמַרְתִּי אֶלָּא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיֵשׁ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר מֻנָּחִים לְפָנֶיךָ:
‘For this’ is said only when one has matza and maror set before them.”

The matzah and maror (and the Pesach sacrifice, in its time) are part of the story of the Exodus.

If the Kohen Gadol performs any part of the Yom Kipur ritual service out of the specified order, he disqualifies the entire process. Does the term seder, when used in connection with Pesach, also stipulate a specific order which must be followed? May a person fulfill his obligations on the night of Pesach by performing the Mitzvot connected with the third cup of wine on the second, and the obligations associated with the second cup of wine on the third cup? For example, would someone who ate their festive meal and recited Bircat Hamazon on a cup of wine, and only afterwards recited the Haggadah on another cup of wine, fulfill his obligations? Would it be permissible to make kiddush and then proceed to eat matza, maror and koreych, and only afterwards to recite the Haggada? Even though the mitzvot were performed out of order, the obligation to eat matzah and marror on the night of the Fifteenth of Nisan has been fulfilled in such cases. However, the other facet of the mitzvah will be missed: that of Pesach Matzah U’Maror as part of the obligation of Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim (see below, section 82, for a discussion of Raban Gamliel’s statement, כל מי שלא אמר שלשה דברים אלו בפסח לא יצא ידי חובתו).
Thus, if someone made Kidddush and then ate matzah and maror, without telling the story of the Exodus, the matzah would lack the aspect of lechem oni, ‘bread upon which many things are told’:
תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף לו עמוד א
מי כתיב לחם עוני עני כתיב. - ורבי יוסי הגלילי: מי קרינן עני? עוני קרינן. - ורבי עקיבא: האי דקרינן ביה עוני - כדשמואל, דאמר שמואל: לחם עני - לחם שעונין עליו דברים הרבה.

Rashi is quite specific regarding the things that must be said:
רש"י מסכת פסחים דף לו עמוד א
שעונין עליו דברים - שגומרים עליו את ההלל, ואומרים עליו הגדה.
One must say the Haggadah and recite the Hallel over the matza. By using the matzah in this fashion it becomes part of the seder. Moreover, the actual eating of matzah must come between these two sections of the seder- after the story of the Exodus, and before the Hallel. (Shiur date: 3/18/75 Nordlicht tape. #5186)
Changing the order of events in the seder would rob the constituent elements of the aspect of Baavur Zeh Lo Amarti and would no longer reflect the opinion brought by Rabbi Akiva in the name of Shmuel, Lechem Oni, lechem she’onim alav dvarim harbe (bread of "Oni" translated as bread upon which we answer and transmit many ideas, i.e. sippur y'tziat Mizrayim, the story of the Exodus). As in Rashi’s interpretation of Lechem Oni as  “lechem upon which we recite Hallel and the Haggadah”, Matzah becomes a part of the Seder only when it is preceded by the Haggadah, sipur y'tziat Mizrayim, and followed by the praise and thanksgiving of Hallel.
קַדֵּש. וּרְחַץ. כַּרְפַּס. יַחַץ. מַגִיד. רָחְצָה. מוֹצִיא. מַצָּה. מָרוֹר. כּוֹרֵךְ. שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ. צָפוּן. בָּרֵךְ. הַלֵּל. נִרְצָה:
2.     Four cups
          The Gemara (Psachim 117b) says that the Rabbis enacted the requirement for four cups as symbols of freedom (derech herut), and we associate a distinct mitzva with each cup: Kiddush, Haggadah, Bircat Hamazon and Hallel. We may take one of two approaches to this statement. The first approach stems from the fact that neither Kiddush nor Bircat Hamazon are restricted to Pesach night. The most that Pesach adds above every Shabbat or Yom Tov is two brachot (Ga’al Yisrael and Hallel). Chazal “borrowed” two Brachot, Kiddush and Bircat Hamazon, for two of the four cups. Kiddush and Bircat Hamazon have nothing to do with sippur Yetziat Mizrayim, rather they are simply included in the total of four cups.
The second approach is that on Pesach night a special transformation takes place: At the seder, Kiddush becomes a part of sippur yetziat mizrayim. When we make Kiddush on this particular night, we are in fact fulfilling two distinct mitzvot: First, the general mitzvah of Kiddush, based on the commandment to sanctify the Sabbath“et yom ha’shabbat l'kadsho”,(Shmot 20,8) which applies to Shabbat and to festivals which are called “shabbatot Hashem”. The second Mitzvah is that of sippur yetziat Mizrayim, which is conveyed both as a commandment to tell our children (“V’higadta l’bincha”, Shmot 13, 8) or to remember and take note of the day upon which we were redeemed from Egypt (“Zachor et ha-yom ha-zeh asher yazata m'mizrayim”, Shmot 13, 3). Bircat Hamazon has a similar dual personality on Pesach night: On the one hand, it is the fulfillment of the year-round obligation of V’achlta v’sava’ta u’veirachta, (“You shall eat, be sated and bless Hashem in thanks,” Devarim 8, 10). On the other hand, it is also a mitzvah in the specific context of sipur yetziat Mizrayim mi’d’orayta (a biblical obligation).
Regarding Kiddush, there is an apparent difference of opinion between the Ta”z and the Magen Avraham: The Shulchan Aruch stipulates that Kiddush should not be recited before nightfall (Orach Haim 472, 1). Tosefot notes that while Kiddush may be recited in the daylight hours on a regular Shabbat or Yom Tov, even as early as plag hamincha, the night of Pesach is different. The Magen Avraham opines that Kiddush may by all rights be recited early on Pesach night, as on any “regular” shabbat or festival; the problem arises because the obligation to drink the first of the four cups, i.e. the kiddush, is concurrent with the obligation to drink the other three cups-- after nightfall. Theoretically, according to the Magen Avraham, one could recite the Kiddush a few minutes prior to sunset and only drink the contents of the cup after nightfall, and fulfill the Mitzvah of Kiddush on Pesach night.
The Ta”z disagrees: While it is permissible to recite Kiddush before sunset all year round, Pesach is different (Orach Chayim, Hilchos Pesach 472:1). According to the Ta”z, Kiddush on Pesach night must take place at the same time that there is an obligation of Pesach, Matzah and Maror. This is only after nightfall. Hence, one may not recite Kiddush prior to nightfall, even if he were to delay the drinking of the wine until after nightfall. Kiddush on Pesach night has a dual character, and this additional aspect requires that we wait until nightfall.

This latter interpretation is more in keeping with our understanding of the character of Kiddush and the seder as a whole, reflecting a unique and intrinsic association between Kiddush on the eve of Pesach with sipur yetziat Mizrayim.

          The Gemara states: Matchil B’gnut U'msayem B’shvach--we begin the Haggadah with the repugnant(Pesachim 116, 8) (Avadim Hayinu or Mi’tchila Ovdei Avodah Zara) and conclude with praise (Hashem redeeming us, bringing us to Eretz Yisrael and giving us the Mitzvot of Pesach, Matzah and Maror on this night). The Rambam explains (Hilchot Hametz uMatza, 7:4) that according to Rav's opinion we relate the Gnut and Shvach of Bnai Yisrael: We began as the children of Terach and ended up being chosen by Hashem and receiving the Torah. B'chirat Yisrael and Kabbalat HaTorah are components of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. Thus, the Rambam requires that we emphasize that Hashem separated us from the other nations and brought us closer to His uniqueness when we recite the magid.  This idea may be found in the Haggadah itself, in Kiddush: Asher bachar banu mi'kol am v’rommemanu mi'kol lashon v’kidshanu b’mitzvotav. “This is Daa’s Haemes that the Rambam refers to: In Kiddush we say exactly what is prescribed by the Rambam, separation from the nations and selection of Bnai Yisrael. Therefore Kiddush on Pesach night is part of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim.”

On Pesach night it is insufficient to say that Hashem brought us close in order to serve Him. We must also say that this night is different from all other nights. We must ask: Why do we eat matzah on this night? Why do we eat maror on this night? Why do we dip twice on this night? Why do we recline on this night? In essence, we are asking why is this night different? If the night is different, then it means that there is a unique K'dushat Hayom, sanctity of the day. The Kiddush says just that, and more; it relates to two aspects of chosenness: The selection of Bnai Yisrael and separation from the other nations, and the special K'dushat Hayom - this night, intrinsically, is endowed with unique Kedusha and is different from all other nights. The K'dushat Hayom of Pesach night requires that we perform various Mitzvot that we do not perform any other time of year. Thus, while Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel (as quoted in the Mishna) refer to making a Bracha on the wine and on the day, The Rambam stipulates that we say Bore Pri Hagafen and then make a Bracha on the Kiddush Hayom, in order to stress that on Pesach night Kiddush is not simply a blessing, but rather we are declaring the unique, intrinsic sanctity of the night prior to reciting the Haggadah. Kiddush on Pesach night is, indeed, an integral part of the Haggadah.
What, then, of Birkat HaMazon? Is the thisr of the fourth cups at the seder merely a “borrowed” blessing, a fulfillment of a general commandment, or is it, like Kiddush,   a part of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim? The simple answer is that we mention Yetziat Mizrayim in the Birkat HaMazon (part of the second paragraph, Nodeh L’cha), and is thus brought in to the seder. Yet an alternative explanationis possible: The four cups of wine at the seder are based on the four terms of redemption mentioned in the Torah, in Parshat Va'eira. The Rambam mentions a fifth cup of wine, which would be based on the fifth term of redemption mentioned in that Parsha, “v'heveti”, but we do not have a cup that represents this fifth aspect. Although the ultimate destination of Bnai Yisrael after the Exodus was to claim Eretz Yisrael, mention of entering Eretz Yisrael is oddly missing from the Haggadah. Entry into Eretz Yisrael is mentioned in Birkat Hamazon, and at the seder we use Birkat HaMazon as the vehicle to include, even if only briefly, the fifth term of redemption and to recognize our entry into Eretz Yisrael.
The Haggadah, Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, is not composed of the 2nd and 4th cups alone; it includes Kiddush Hayom and Bircat Hamazon, as indicated by their inclusion in the four cups required on the night of Pesach.

3.     Comparison with shabbat
          The Rambam (Hilchot Chametz U’Matzah 7:1) draws a parallel between the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim and the Mitzvah of Kiddush on Shabbat, based on the commandment Zachor Et Yom Hashabbat. The concept of zachor that is common to both Shabbat and Pesach expresses itself in Kiddush. The Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 29:1) describes Kiddush as Zechirat Shevach Vkiddush. The Mitzvah of Shabbat is to express the uniqueness of the day of Shabbat: Mizmor Shir L’yom HaShabbat. What is so special about Shabbat: Mah Yom Miyomayim? There aren't seven days in a week: there are six days and Shabbat.  The equation of Zachor Et Hayom Hazeh Asher Yetzatem M’mizrayim and Zachor Et Yom Hashabbat L’kadsho relates to this aspect of uniqueness: Just as Shabbat is different than all other days of the week, Pesach night is different than all other nights of the year. Kiddush on the night of Pesach establishes the uniqueness of the night; without it, we would not have 4 cups associated with the Haggadah and Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim as required by the Takannat Chachamim for this night.

קַדֵּשׁ מיד כשבא מביהכנ"ס ילבש הקיטל , ישטוף הכוס וידיחנו, ומוזגין לו הכוס ומקדש עליו:

4.     kittel
          The use of the kittel is a reminder of death, and is another device employed at the seder to encourage the children to take note of irregular customs and to ask questions. The Rav was of the opinion that a groom in his first year of marriage should wear a kittel at the seder, as should a mourner in the first twelve months of mourning. (Heard from Rabbi M. Gordon who was both a chattan and a mourner in the same year, and the Rov instructed him to wear a kittel at the seder nonetheless.)

5.     Pouring the wine
          The pouring of the wine is part of the seder, as we learn from the Rambam’s formulation:
רמב"ם הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ח הלכה א
סדור עשיית מצוות אלו בליל חמשה עשר כך הוא: בתחלה מוזגין כוס לכל אחד ואחד ומברך בורא פרי הגפן ואומר עליו קדוש היום וזמן ושותה

תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף קיד עמוד א

מזגו לו כוס ראשון,
תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף קטז עמוד א

מזגו לו כוס שני,
תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים פרק י –קיז: 
 מזגו לו כוס שלישי - מברך על מזונו. רביעי - גומר עליו את הלל,

The concept of beginning with mezigat hakos is not limited to Pesach; it applies to every Shabbat and all Yomim Tovim, and is based on the She’iltot D'Rav Achai Gaon, quoted by Tosfot in Masechet Shabbat. In all cases, the food on the table must be covered before Kiddush is recited, and one may not recite Kiddush if exposed food is on the table. In other words, Mezigas Hakos and Kiddush must always be done prior to bringing in the food to the Shabbat or Yom Tov table. Here, the Mishna does not start with Kiddush, but rather with meziga - pouring or mixing the wine. Apparently the meziga itself plays a role in the seder, and is part of the obligation of the night. If one were to prepare a cup of wine prior to the seder, before nightfall, he would be lacking in the complete fulfillment of the seder.

The Mishna mentions meziga regarding the first three cups of wine, but not for the fourth. The Rav explained: Meziga of the second cup is an integral part of the seder, for this is the impetus for the son to ask the Four Questions. Specifically this meziga, of a second cup, arouses the curiosity of the child so that he will ask his father the questions: Preparation of the wine for Kiddush would not strike the seder participants as strange or unusual; only when a second cup is prepared in this manner would a child’s curiosity be aroused. (See Rashi in Pesachim 116, where he implies that the pouring of the wine is what obligates the son to ask at that point). The obligation incumbent upon the parents, “Vehigadta Lvincha”, requires us to arouse the curiosity of the children so they will be moved to ask questions, and the formal meziga of additional cups of wine is one of the added nuances we use to make sure the child notices that this night is different from all others.  Thus, the Meziga is actually a part of the Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim.

We have seen, then that Vehigadta Lvincha obligates us to explain to our children the events that took place in the past that led to our freedom. The first three cups punctuate the section of the Haggada that recounts the Redemption from Egypt, and the preparation of these cups, the meziga, is part and parcel of the Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim. The fourth cup refers to the eventual, ultimate Redemption, a topic that is not part of the sipur, per se; therefore the fourth cup does not require meziga. The first three cups require meziga for they are aimed at the children, despite the fact that the third cup is poured only after the formal Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim is concluded.

The Rambam’s formulation is slightly different than our normally accepted practice. According to the Rambam there is no meziga by the third cup, since the pouring of the third cup takes place within the context of the meal and would not stir the curiosity of the children. Since the third cup does not impact Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, there is no need to mention meziga with it. However, the Rambam goes on to state that the fourth cup requires meziga as well, implying that the Mitzva of Vehigadta Lvincha extends to the future Redemption as well as to the Exodus from Egypt. The obligation is not just to retell the tale of the Exodus, but to instill the hope for the future Redemption.

6.     Grape juice
The first of the four cups differs from the other three: Generally, the Four Cups should be an expression of freedom. Therefore, if a person prefers grape juice to wine, drinking the grape juice would be an expression of freedom.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף קח עמוד ב
אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל: ארבעה כוסות הללו צריך שיהא בהן כדי מזיגת כוס יפה. שתאן חי - יצא, שתאן בבת אחת - יצא, השקה מהן לבניו ולבני ביתו - יצא. שתאן חי - יצא. אמר רבא: ידי יין יצא, ידי חירות לא יצא.

רמב"ם הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ז הלכה ט

ארבעה כוסות האלו צריך למזוג אותן כדי שתהיה שתיה עריבה הכל לפי היין ולפי דעת השותה, ולא יפחות בארבעתן מרביעית יין חי, שתה ארבעה כוסות אלו מיין שאינו מזוג יצא ידי ארבעה כוסות ולא יצא ידי חירות, שתה ארבעה כוסות מזוגין בבת אחת יצא ידי חירות ולא יצא ידי ארבעה כוסות

However, the first cup possesses an additional identity: it is also Kiddush, as recited on any other holiday or Shabbat. The Rambam holds Kiddush to a different standard, a different requirement: Wine used for kiddush must be worthy to be spilled as a libation on the Altar.
רמב"ם הלכות שבת פרק כט הלכה יד

אין מקדשין אלא על היין הראוי לנסך על גבי המזבח, לפיכך אם נתערב בו דבש או שאור אפילו כטיפת החרדל בחבית גדולה אין מקדשין עליו, כך אנו מורין בכל המערב, ויש מי שמתיר לקדש עליו ואומר לא נאמר היין הראוי לנסך על גבי המזבח אלא להוציא יין שריחו רע או מגולה או מבושל שאין מקדשין על אחד מהן. +/השגת הראב"ד/ [ויש מי שמתיר וכו'] להוציא יין שריחו רע או מגולה או מבושל שאין מקדשין על אחד מהן. א"א ואמת הוא זה וכן מפורש בירושלמי (פסחים פ"י ה"א) שמקדשין ביין קונדיטון.+

The Rambam himself notes that there is a dissenting opinion, adopted by the Ra’avad and codified in the Shulchan Oruch 272:5. Nonetheless, Rav Soloveitchik conducted himself according to the ruling of the Rambam and used non-mevushal wine, worthy for the Altar, for the first cup and grape juice for the other cups.

כשחל בשבת מתחילין כאן:
וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר:
יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם:
וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה:
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשֹוֹת:
כשחל בחול מתחילין כאן:
סַבְרִי מָרָנָן וְרַבָּנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (לשבת:
שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשֹוֹן (לשבת:
אֶת יוֹם הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶּה וְ) אֶת יוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (לשבת:
בְּאַהֲבָה) מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים. (לשבת - וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶׁךָ (לשבת - בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשֹוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה מְקַדֵּשׁ (לשבת - הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה:

7.     shehecheyanu
          She’he’cheyanu should be said only on the kiddush and not on the candle lighting. This is true for Pesach and all Festivals.

ושותה בהסיבת שמאל ואינו מברך ברכה אחרונה:
8.     Hasayba                 
Chazal introduced the concept of haseva, the reclining posture, as the symbol of freedom. Reclining on the left side is a phsical attitude of complete relaxation that manifests abatement from tension or anxiety. One who is anxious cannot relax physically; conversely, physical relaxation leads to emotional relaxation. Reclining is symbolic of throwing off the mental yoke that deprives man of freedom of movement. It is the reverse of the stiff and direct posture that demonstrates obedience. A soldier standing erect at attention symbolizes obedience. Reclining, on the other hand, is indicative of disobedience, of a courageous rejection of the authority of man, an emphatic statement of one’s freedom to relax and act as one chooses. On Pesach night, the Halacha requires that we have a relaxed posture that transmits disrespect for those who would dominate us. We are no longer slaves, and the reclining posture is that of the fearless man who is unhindered by any external forces. To appreciate that Chazal viewed this posture as one of disrespect, we should note that elsewhere (see Rambam Mishna Torah Hilchot Chametz U matzah chapter 7 law 8, Talmud torah 5:6 the Rov’s uncle Rav Krakovsky in Avodat haMelech identified Pesachim  108a and Kalla rabati end of chapter 2 as the sources for the general prohibition in front of one’s master) they enjoined the student sitting before his teacher from reclining because it is a disrespectful posture. Chazal chose this posture as the symbol of freedom specifically because it indicates a subordinate’s disrespect towards his superior. It demonstrates how the poor Jew in Egypt behaved towards his former master on the night of the Exodus.

In antiquity people ate while reclining around a table, or had little individual tables in front of them; today, when we sit on chairs around a table, care should be taken to actually lean on something in order to perform the mitzvah properly (by turning the back of chair to the side or by taking a second chair to lean on).     
The requirement of haseva is general, even universal: The Rishonim conclude that a poor person who has no pillow to lean on is nonetheless obligated to perform haseva. [HK 147]

כשחל במוצאי שבת קודש מקדשין יקנה"ז ראשי תיבות יין, קידוש, נר, הבדלה, זמן:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל בֵּין אוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ. וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ:

וּרְחַץ נוטל ידיו ואינו מברך על נטילת ידים:

כַּרְפַּס יקח הכרפס פחות מכזית כדי שלא יתחייב בברכה אחרונה, ויטבול במי מלח ומברך בורא פרי האדמה, ויכוין לפטור את המרור, ויאכל בלא הסיבה:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה:

יַחַץ יחצה המצה השניה, וחציה הקטנה יניחנה במקומה והחצי הגדולה ישמור אותה לאפיקומן:
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִּי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִּכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכוֹל. כָּל דִּצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵּי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין:

9.     Ha Lachmah Anya
What is the relevance of the declaration we make at the conclusion of Ha Lachma Anya, “This year we are here, next year we shall be in the Land of Israel, this year we are slaves, next year we shall be free.”  Many ask why we mention this specically at the conclusion of Ha Lachma whose purpose is to invite any who are hungry to come and join us at the Seder.
The Mishna (Bava Metzia 83a) resolves this problem by relating a story about Rav Yochanan ben Matya who instructed his son to hire some workers for a particular job.  The son proceeded to hire Jewish workers and he agreed, among other things, to provide them with food.  When the son told the father what he did, the father became concerned regarding the fact that the son did not specify to the workers what type of food he agreed to provide them.  The father ordered his son to immediately tell the workers before they started the job that he agrees to provide them with only an average meal.  Rav Yochanan explained that without specifying otherwise, the workers enjoyed the Halachic right to demand the most lavish meal imaginable.  This is because the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, are entitled to the finest treatment possible.
Similarly, when we invite a Jew to the Seder they are entitled to the most lavish meal imaginable unless we specify otherwise.  Hence, when we extend an invitation to poor people to attend our Seder, we indicate that in principle they are entitled to the finest meal possible.  However, due to our current pre-Messianic circumstances we are unable to provide them with such a meal.  This indication raises the self-esteem of the poor guests as we gently imply that their status as Jews endows them with “VIP status” and that anything we give them is less than what they deserve. rcj rhs mph

10. magid
Before proceeding with the text of the Hagaddah, an overview of the magid and its particular structure reveals important ideas: The Hagaddah consists of 5 parts, and magid is comprised of three distinct sections, beginning with Mah Nishtanah/Avadim Hayinu and concluding with Ga'al Yisrael.  The first section of magid, comprised of the laws pertaining to “Yetziat Mitzraim”, begins with “Avadim Hayinu” and presents the philosophical principles that form the root and foundation of the Mitzvas Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. Without these postulates it would be impossible to conduct Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. This first section includes some Halacha as well, as it pertains to the obligations of the night. In this first section, then, we declare, There is a Mitzvah of ‘sippur yetzias Miztraim’ -- declaring the Exodus. We identify the halacha.  We state the basic law.  We say that in essence even if we know the story, the reason it is a “mitzvah” for us to recite Yetziat Mitzraim, is because it is the study of Torah; like “talmud Torah,” there is always more to learn.  The more a person studies, the more he will learn and know.  Therefore, the first part is not contingent upon erudition or knowledge but is a positive commandment. Indeed, at this very moment, we are told of the five “Rabonim”, the greatest scholars of Jewish law. Even they learned something new; follows “Amar Rav Elazar” (“Rabbi Elazar, son of Azariah said”), identifying the appropriate “time” for “Sippur Yetzias Mitzraim” (declaring the Exodus) in a classic halachic argument. 

In the passage that immediately follows, “Boruch Hamokom” (Blessed in G-d who gave the Law to His People, Israel), the Ba’al Hagaddah seems overcome with joy. Why this ecstatic enthusiasm?  And in praising God, why tell about all four sons, including the skeptic and the agnostic?  The answer is truly a cause for rejoicing: Each one has a share!  The great scholar cannot say to the ignorant man, “My share is greater.”  The man who has not been blessed by the Alm-ghty with a great mind but who puts in a sincere effort is recognized as an equal to the great scholar; unique scriptural texts are brought for the great mind, the simpleton and even the one who refutes -- the skeptic.  Every Jew is possessed of intrinsic greatness, although we do not know when it will emerge.  This unique Jewish humanism is derived from the Prophet Ezekiel: “Boruch Shaym K’vod Malchuso” (Blessed is the Name, the glory of His Kingdom is forever).  We are all in the embrace of the Alm-ghty.  “Boruch Hamokom” -- Everyone, everything is in His space.  As one cannot escape space, so can he not escape Hakodosh Boruch Hu.  When He gave the Torah, He did not give it just to the great minds able to grasp its depths. In this, Torah transcens all other forms of knowledge: Although some cannot understand science and therefore have no share in science, in Torah everyone has a share.  It is perhaps more important to tell the simple child than the great mind.  G-d embraces the whole world as a mother embraces all her children, no matter how many.  He embraces all mankind, especially the Covenental Community.
מתחילה עובדי עבודה זרה היו אבותינו(Orginally our ancestors were idolators).  What kind of a statement is this and what does it tell? There is not a superfluous word in the Hagaddah.  Why, then, was this recitiation from the Prophet Joshuah introduced?  It tells of our humble origins, our low beginnings.  We may contrast this world view with that of other ancient societies (Greek, Roman, Nordic) whose mythology explains their origins in a love affair between a god and a human.  Not so the Jews.  We tell of our low origin.  “My parent was a simple idolator.”  “We would have remained there in Egypt.”  Our subsequent stature is due to a special act of grace from G-d.  He invited us “to come nearer” in an act of Chessed - loving kindness.  Any nation could have been chosen; we are not deserving.  Gratitude is the very basis of our faith.  “You didn’t display any specific traits of character to make you worthy.  I selected you because of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 
The next thought is very cryptic, describing, in short, the paths taken by Esav and Yaakov.  They were two brothers; their destinies should have been identical.  How did Esau come to inherit “Har Seir”, and why is Yaakov’s path such a circuitous one? In Vayishlach (Bereisht 36, 6) we are told: “Esau took his wives, sons and daughter, his livestock - all he had acquired, and went to a different land.”  He didnt’ eat manna in the desert for 40 years.  He merely took over the land because G-d promised it to him.  He took it over quickly, and not after a long, long waiting period. And yet the same promise was made to us!  Did Jacob see this promise fulfilled?  Not quickly, not yet; eventually, yes!  So what idea is expressed in this short, terse statement?  It is a statement of our uniqueness:  No other nation has received a promise that took so long to implement.  The gentile writer Ibsen said, “What is a Jew?  He who waits!”  No other nation knows how to wait as the Jewish nation does.  This is the defining, characteristic trait of the Jew. 


 ארמי עובד אבי
Next is the leap!  Up to this point, we merely stated halachos and the traits of our people - humble origin, the formative traits of gratitude and patience, etc.  Now, we tell the history of our destiny: Arami Oved Avi (which may be translated either “My father was a wandering nomad” or “The Syrian almost killed my father”).  This is the second of the three sections of magid, comprised of the narrative portion and the description of Pesach, Matzah and Marror based on the statements of Rabban Gamliel that are included as part of the narrative.

The same text recited when bikurim were brought to the Beit HaMikdash each year, found in sedra “Ki Sovo” (Devarim), is transformed by the Haggadah. While in the Beit Hamikdosh, it was merely a statement, here in Hagaddah it is analyzed in depth.  We employ comparative analysis between the two places.  “Sipur”, then, is not merely “to tell” but “to study”.  This passage is not merely recited, as in the Beit Hamikdash; on this special night, it is not merely “told” but studied and understood. It is “semantics in depth”.  Relating Yetzias Mitzraim is not narrative, it is an in-depth study every Pesach; it is Talmud. The analysis, the limud, continues through Rabbi Yehuda Hayah Notayn Bahem Simanim – “Rabbi Yehuda assigned  them acronyms: detsach, adash, beachab”.

This second section of the magid, then, contains two ideas that describe and define Jewish history—G-d’s grace, and Jewish waiting. Together, they describe what we call Kabolas Ohl Malchut Shamayim: We have accepted our historic destiny, accepted our role!  The struggle that began 3500 years ago has not yet been resolved; Esau went to Seir (Rome) and Yaakov continues to await his destiny.  We are eternally indebted to Him for choosing us for this destiny, no matter how long it takes to see its fruition.  This is Kabolas Ohl Malchus Shamayim, and leads us directly in the third section of the magid comprised of the first two chapters of Hallel, an overflowing of joy and praise to the Almighty who has chosen us and brought to this point in our history: Baruch Ata…asher ge’alanu v’ga’al et avoteinu ..., connecting our destiny, our history, and our vision of the future.

Rabban Gamliel that the 3 symbols Pesach, Matzo, Moror - be identified.  Then the final “Boruch Atoh --- Asher Goalonu” (Blessed is G-d who brought us forth to this night).

We proceed with the text of the Haggadah
מוזגין כוס שני וכאן הבן שואל:

11. ma nishtana 
According to the Rambam the leader should say the Mah Nishtana. It is possible that the Mishna did not see the ma nishtaneh as a formal text to be asked, but as questions to be taught the child that doesn’t know how to ask. It is possible that “Mah Nishtaneh” should not be translated as “why is this night different”? Rather as a statement “How different is this night”! This would clearly establish the “Ma Nishtana as part of what the reader reads and not what the child asks, a close reading of the Rambam would lead to this conclusion. Therefore after the child asks as is the custom today, the leader should repeat the Mah Nishtana
The different items on the Seder plate are intended to arouse the curiosity of the children by indicating the Korban Pesach (shank bone), Maror, Charoses and the Matzah. These are the topics around which the 4 questions revolve. The Rambam mentions that at this point the second cup of wine is poured and here the child asks and then (the Rambam adds) the leader (Koray) recites the 4 questions (Mah Nishtana). What does the child ask at this point if not the 4 questions? If the child has asked these questions, why does the leader recite the 4 questions as well? Why is the term Mah Nishtana used in reference to the leader and not the son? At the Seder of Reb Chaim Brisker ZT"L the children would recite the 4 questions in reverse age order and then Reb Chaim would recite the 4 questions prior to Avadim Hayinu. Reb Chaim's opinion was that Maggid had to be recited in question and answer format. That is why we say "This Pesach (sacrifice) that we are partaking of, for what reason do we do so (Al Shum Moh)".

Based on this, the Rav offered the following new interpretation of the 4 questions. If the questions only related to the eating of Matzah and Maror, the text of the questions should have simply been: Why do we eat Matzah on this evening? Why do we eat Maror? Why do we introduce the questions with the Mah Nishtanah framework? Apparently, Mah Nishtanah is part of the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, part of the obligation to single out the night of Pesach, just like Kiddush. Again the comparison to Shabbat is important: Shabbat is unique in the prohibition of engaging in work. Pesach is unique in the 3 Mitzvos that apply only on this night, Pesach, Matzah and Maror and Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. These 3 Mitzvos taken together with the questions regarding dipping the vegetables in salt water and the obligation to eat in a reclining position (that will be answered through Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim) represent the distinguishing characteristics of this night that are discussed as part of Maggid and Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. We introduce the questions with the unique structure of Mah Nishtanah in order to underscore this uniqueness.

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת. שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה:

12. Who asks
  Avadim Hayinu, the story of the exodus, is how the Torah begins the answer to the Ben Chacham. It immediately follows the Mah Nishtanah. The Avadim hayinu is the answer offered in the Torah to the question placed in the mouth of the wise son of the Haggadah.
Which child is asking the Mah Nishtanah? Based on a process of elimination the answer must be the wise son, the four questions are complex and beyond the capabilities of either the simple son (Tam) for obvious reasons it is not  the son who is incapable of asking. The Rasha scorns the entire process so he would be excluded. This confirms that it must be the Wise Son who asks these questions at the seder. We answer him initially with the Avadim Hayinu which in the Torah is the answer to the wise son.
דברים פרק ו
כ) כִּי יִשְׁאָלְךָ בִנְךָ מָחָר לֵאמֹר מָה הָעֵדֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם:
(כא) וְאָמַרְתָּ לְבִנְךָ עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם וַיּוֹצִיאֵנוּ יְקֹוָק מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה:

We then proceed to tell the rest of the story of the exodus but first we must involve the other 3 sons. We do try and stimulate the Wise son on his level by giving him a halachic answer, and discussing some of the Halachos of Pesach that apply to this night.  It is in this context that we should undertand the next few paragraphs
"Had not God taken our forefathers out of Egypt we and succeeding generations would have remained as slaves to Paroh in Egypt": this is the Halacha of in each generation we must see ourselves as if we personally were redeemed from Egypt. We then say that as far as the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is concerned, there is no upper limit for Divrei Torah. Next we read the Berysa that shows that all are obligated in the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim no matter how learned one might be.   Therefore these next sections are designed to respond to the Wise son, starting with biblical response and continuing with the special needs of the inquisitive advanced student. But these statements while being halachik in nature are inclusive and take in the needs of the other children.

13. chametz       
The Torah commands us to bring the Shtay Halechem on Shavuos, and says that this offering is supposed to consist of Chametz. The Shtei Halechem was different from other Menachos in that it alone consisted of Chametz. The Rav explained why the Ramban was apparently bothered by this difference and how the Ramban explained the unique nature of the Shtei Halechem.
The Ramban states that the Shtei Halechem is first and foremost a Korban Todah, offer of thanksgiving to Hashem for the harvest that has just been completed. In fact the Korban Omer is also an offer of thanksgiving, as we bring it from the newly grown barley, as a general thanksgiving on behalf of Bnay Yisrael for the harvest. The Shtei Halechem, like other Korbanos Todah, consists of Chametz. The Ramban explains that the word Chametz suggests Midas Hadin, the strict attribute of judgement by Hashem.  The term Chametz is used in connection with things that have soured and gone bad, for example wine that has gone sour, Chometz Yayin. Midas Hadin requires immediate retribution for the sour deed done by the individual. That Hashem accepts our Korbanos and grants us forgiveness is evidence of the Midas Hachesed of Hashem. For if Hashem operated with us under the strict Midas Hadin, the person would have to offer himself as the very sacrifice to attone for his sin. It is only through the Chesed of Hashem that we can bring Korbanos in lieu of our personal debt. (The Rav noted that Hashem is referred to as Elokim (denoting the Midas Hadin) when He commands Avraham to bring Isaac as a sacrifice. It is only after Avraham comes as close as possible to fulfilling the command that the ram becomes the sacrifice, and the Midas Hadin is transformed into the Midas Hachesed (and Hashem is referred to by that name).)
The Ramban then says that it is the desire of Hashem that Korbanos should not include anything that symbolizes Midas Hadin. Rather, Hashem wants the Korbanos to consist of items that represent the interweaving of Midas Hachesed in the world, similar to the way in which He created the world.  That is why Chametz, which is symbolic of sin and strict Midas Hadin is not usually included with Korbanos. The Rav explained this through the following analogy. We recite the Bircas Hagomel when Hashem saves us from misfortune, thanking Hashem for granting favors to those that are guilty for He has granted me all favors. Why do we add the statement that Hashem grants favors to the guilty? Why not simply thank Him for granting me a favor? Because if Hashem operated through a strict enforcement of Midas Hadin, the guilty would not be spared. It is only because of the kindness of Hashem, who at the the time of creation blended Midas Hachesed with Midas Hadin, that we are saved. Chametz, Midas Hadin, as part of the Korban Todah, would argue against man being granted this Chesed from Hashem. When Hashem grants us Chesed even in situations that we are not deserving of it, we must recognize and acknowledge another example of how Hashem blended Chesed with Din.
Man should not think that he he has been shown kindness by erroneously believing that he lives in a world of complete Din, and he has been saved because he was judged to be deserving based on his merits. The Korban Todah consists of Chametz to remind us that it is only through the Chesed of Hashem that our sour ways have been overlooked. We show that Din and Rachamim have been intertwined.
The Ramban says that on Shavuos, the time of Mattan Torah, we bring this Korban Todah, Bdin Torah, because it is the day of Atzeres, Vhamaskil Yavin (The Rav noted, in only half jest, that one must be concerned when the Ramban uses this term...). The Rav explained that Torah Shebichtav represents the strict Midas Hadin, as it clearly states the punishment for each transgression, as well as the definitions of guilt and innocense. Torah Shebeal Peh, on the other hand, represents the Midas Hachesed Vrachamim. Torah Shebichtav was given on Shavuos while Torah Shebeal Peh was given on Yom Kippur. Shavuos, with its connection to Torah Shebichtav and absolute Din, requires a Korban of Chametz which represents Din. Our task on Shavuos is to sweeten the absolute Midas Hadin, of Torah Shebichtav, with the aspect of Rachamim, as represented by Torah Shebeal Peh. Blending Torah Shebeal Peh with Torah Shebichtav on Shavuos is yet another example of how we recognize the greatness of Hashem for creating the world through a combination of Chesed and Din. Torah Shebeal Peh allows us to transform the strict Midas Hadin of Torah Shebichtav, as symbolized by the Chametz in the Shtei Halechem, into Midas Harachamim.
This is why, according to Kaballah, we stay up Shavuos night and learn Torah Shebichtav followed by Torah Shebeal Peh. We begin with Torah Shebichtav, represented by the Chametz of the Shtei Halechem, but we must intermix Torah Shebeal Peh, in order to sweeten the absolute Din with Chesed. By the morning when we get to the Krias Hatorah of Kabbalas Hatorah (Midas Hadin and Torah Shebichtav), we have already sweetened the Midas Hadin through our study of Torah Shebeal Peh during the night. The Ramban is hinting that Shavuos symbolizes Midas Hadin, and the Korban of Chametz that is brought on Shavuos reenforces that symbolism. (On Hoshanah Rabbah we have the custom to learn Torah Shebichtav alone. The Aravah symbolizes the sweetening of the Midas Hadin, Torah Shebichtav. There is no need to mix in Torah Shebeal Peh also.)
The Ramban notes that according to Chazal, the Korban Todah will never be nullified because the it represents the blending of Rachamim and Din, without which the world could not exist.
The Beis Halevi asks how could the Jews obligate themselves at Mount Sinai with Naaseh Vnishma? After all they did not yet know which Mitzvos Hashem would give them. We have  a rule that one can't obligate himself with a Davar Sh'ayno Katzuv, an unbounded and unspecified obligation. If Kabbalas Ol Mitzvos was Davar Sh'ayno Katzuv, it is essentially an Asmachta, so how did the Jews become obligated to keep the Mitzvos at Sinai? He answers that the concept of Tnai, conditional acceptance, does not apply to Kabbalas Hamitzvos. According to the Ramban there is no Asmachta [a purchase based on a chance event, e.g. a bet, where there is a lack of Gmiras Daas due to the uncertainty of the outcome] by Gittin and Kidushin because it is sinful for a man to mislead a woman in the subject of marriage and divorce. Therefore we do not allow a man to claim that his words were an Asmachta and that he didn't really intend to marry this woman. The Beis Halevi applies the same concept to Kabbalas Hatorah at Mount Sinai, that an event of such magnitude does not lend itself to the restrictions of Asmachta and therefore Bnay Yisrael were able to obligate themselves accordingly. [Even though in general we say that Asmachta Lo Kani, Kinyan requires complete understanding by the parties to the transaction and  certitude regarding the object in question, we suspend this requirement when it comes to the acceptance of Torah and Mitzvos at Sinai. The very essence of obligating ones self to Torah requires a willingness to to respond in an unlimited fashion to the requirements of Torah.]
Malchus is Din. It is a medium through which HKBH reveals Himself to mankind, and especially to Bnay Yisrael. Malchus relates the presence of HKBH and His omnipotence to the rest of creation, the entire universe. The same laws, be they physical or metaphysical, apply to all creation, be they in the furthest nebulae or within the closest proximity to man. This form of Din is what is referred to as Ratzon Hakadmon, which HKBH implanted in every flower and spring so that they may extol the glory of Hashem. This Ratzon Hakadmon completely controls the dynamics of the universe, including the human being. This is the ultimate manifestation of Din.
As Chazal say (Sifri Haazinu):
"Haraisa Chama Shokaas Bamizrach?"
Has one ever seen the sun set in east? This inviolability of nature is Din. It is impossible to speak of different laws that govern the speed with which different light beams travel. If one accepts the opinion that on Rosh Hashonah the world was created, then Rosh Hashonah is truly the ultimate Yom Din, as the universe which is based on Din, on the inviolate laws of nature. The concept of Selicha Umechila would have no place in such a universe built on Din. The perfect description is Malchuso Btoch Olamo, that kingship of HKBH, Din, is at the center of the universe and creation.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר:
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים:
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין:

עֲבָדִים הָיִינו
14. Slavery                   
The Torah says that Hashem is the One who took us out of the "house of slaves". Why the emphasis on the house of slaves? According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch there are 2 types of slaves.  The first is a free man who is defeated in war and becomes a slave. He hates slavery as it contradicts everything he knew as a free man. He can't wait to throw off the yoke of slavery and be free again. Another type of slave is one whose ancestors were slaves for many generations. Such a slave cannot appreciate freedom.  The Jews were enslaved for many years in Egypt. The Torah tells us that after Paroh became sick, the people cried out to Hashem. Why didn't they cry out to Hashem earlier? They did not pray before under intolerable conditions because slavery was so ingrained in them.
The Torah tells us that Bnay Yisrael were redeemed from the house of Paroh. Some slaves were forced to work for the state. Other slaves were graciously given by the state to deserving citizens, who were Paroh's subjects. A slave in a private home who works for cruel masters has a very difficult life. However sometimes a slave may have a master with some compassion and be treated nicely. However when one is a slave to the state, his masters are invariably sadists who find delight in torturing others. The Torah tells us that the Jews were not only slaves in private homes. Some were treated better while others were terribly abused. However, the worst position was to be a slave to the state, to Paroh. During the Holocaust, the concentration camps were the most brutal and sadistic places for the inmates because the people selected to run those camps were the most sadistic of all. The same was true in Egypt as it was in Nazi Germany.

15. slavery           
There are two aspects to slavery: 1) the juridical/political and 2) the typological/personalistic. Under the political/political, slavery is identical with a doctrine of totalitarian, or all inclusive, private property. It embraces the animate and inanimate, including mankind.   The body of the slave belongs to someone other than the slave himself. Under the second aspect of slavery, slavery represents a class of people who think, feel and act (or react) in a distinct manner, thus reflecting a peculiar personality. The personalistic aspect of slavery may be found even among free men. These two aspects of slavery do not always go hand in hand. When we say in the Hagadah (at the conclusion of Magid) that we praise Hashem for the redemption and freedom of our soul, it refers to both kinds of slavery. We were set free physically and we were also liberated from the highly restrictive slave personality.

The Halacha calls the political/juridical aspect Kinyan Mamon. The master has property rights that one has concerning another. The Halacha calls the personalistic aspect Kinyan Issur, which refers to the Halachic constraints that are placed on the slave because of his strange and peculiar personality. It behooves us to analyze the Halachos associated with the personalistic or Kinayn Issur regarding the slave. There are fundamentally 3 Halachos that reflect our view of the slave personality. 1) Eved is relieved of time oriented Mitzvos (Mitzvas Assay Sh?Hazeman Grama). 2) Eved is excluded from matrimony (Ayn Lo Tfisas Kdushin). His act of betrothal does not establish a matrimonial community. 3) The slave is disqualified as a witness in civil and criminal cases.

The laws noted above are not just of technical significance. They are rooted in the slave mentality and personality, in his action and reaction. A slave (the Rav noted that we are talking about anyone who demonstrates the slave personality, which might include free men of distinction) is disqualified to testify in civil and criminal cases simply because we don?t trust him. Apparently the commitment to truth or as many ethicists and philosophers call it the ?truth norm? is unknown to the slave. Only the free man can experience that norm, not the serf. The reason for the insensitivity of the slave to truth can be found at two levels. In the first level, the slave is a person without options. He has no freedom of choice between alternatives. He has only one course of action that he can follow. When the torah talks of free people in general and the Jew in particular, it talks of two alternative ways, Tov and Ra, Good and Evil, Bracha and Klala. The free man has the ability to choose between them. The slave does not have that freedom of choice. He has no faith in himself and lacks the urge and drive to initiate. His lack of decision making ability and freedom of choice manifests in an inability to intervene in certain situations to improve his lot. He lacks the tools that a free man would employ to help himself under similar circumstances. People who are not free (slaves or prisoners in concentration camps), whose opportunities are restricted, develop a more imaginative approach to the world. They view things the way they would like the world and reality to be, not the way it actually is. The inability to intervene and materially affect the reality of their situation leads them to perceive their world through a personalistic/subjective and slanted viewpoint in order to soothe their ego. (The Rav noted that people with various impediments often view the world from a slanted and imagined perspective, colored by their own personal situation and how they would like their world to be.) The Torah did not entrust the slave to testify because he does not see things objectively. He sees events and situations through his slanted subjectivity.

Another manifestation of the slave personality is his fear to contradict others, not only those that have control or jurisdiction over him, but even in situations that contradiction would not result in any harm to him. A sense of unjustified fear is the motivating force in all aspects of his life. The Rav compared this mindset to that of many inmates in concentration camps who were afraid to contradict anyone, even a child, no matter how outlandish the statement might have been. The Torah describes most beautifully this neurotic, unjustified fear that the Jews will experience as part of their exile and punishment. In those nations you will not find peace and will experience fear day and night. The Torah describes irrational fear, a phobia that is not necessarily based in reality.

The slave deemed untrustworthy not only because of his imagination, but also because he is motivated by unjustified fear that will not allow him to contradict anyone of a higher station. When one testifies and tells the truth he has to contradict and antagonize someone. A person who is afraid to do antagonize is disqualified from giving testimony. Simply put, the slave is essentially a frightened person. He can?t be objective, his power of observation is determined by his imagination and fantasy and he is engulfed in fear. The slave has no power of observation or courage to stand up for his beliefs and ideas. The free man is capable of telling the truth no matter the situation that he may find himself to be in.

16. implications of slavery      
The second Halacha is that a slave is relieved of commandments that are time oriented. The reason is that the slave lacks the time experience. Everything in the universe exists in time and space. All evolutionary processes in nature are the result of time passage. The organic world is intertwined with the passage of time. The characteristic or cycle of all organic tissue is birth, life and death. The life of any organic tissue is the inexorable approach of death. Life and death are phenomenon experiences that can only be understood in the context of time.

Even though everything exists in time, not everything experiences time. Man is the only creation endowed by Hashem with the capability of experiencing time. Man is capable of not simply living in time but to appreciate the meaning of the passage of time as the awareness of a time-existential stream of selfhood. Unfortunately not every human takes advantage of the ability to experience time and not simply to live in time. Many human beings simply flow with inexorable tide of all powerful and irresistible time. Yet such people have denied themselves the excitement of the experience of time.

What are the components of the time experience? (Aging is not included, for even the animals in the field age but do not understand the time experience.) There are 3 component parts or acts to the time experience. 1) Retrospection. There is no time without retrospection. By retrospection we mean re-experiencing of the past. Retrospection for a young man is difficult, but it is very easy for an old man. Time is memory. Without memory there is no time. 2) The time experience consists in exploration of things yet unborn, of events not yet in existence, the exploration of the future. The anticipatory existence of events still unrevealed. 3) Appreciation of and valuation of the present moment as the most precious possession one has. It is an axiological act. Time is the most precious possession. This concept is often overlooked by youth.

No one is capable of time awareness if retrospection is alien to him and if he is incapable of reliving past experiences. What is Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim? The whole Mitzvah does not express itself simply in relating a story of what happened. Rather, it is the reliving of the drama. We must re-experience and relive the exodus. That is history. Archeology describes events that disappeared long ago, and even though they may be reproduced by memory, they are not alive. There is no retrospection. History is not only the recorded story of events, but it is part of the time awareness of a people or group that I reenact and restage. No time awareness is imaginable if the latter lacks the historical experience.

The Rav observed that the tragedy of the American Jew is based on the fact that he forgot his past. We are not referring to the simple stories of peasant life in Europe. Rather he lost the ability to relive time as part of his own I-awareness, he lost touch with Judaism assertion that the past is relevant and is a part of me. Rabbi Akiva is not simply a figure that lived 1800 years ago. He and his teachings have been integrated into our personalities. The same applies to all the great scholars and leaders throughout the generations. Many American Jews forfeited their time awareness and retrospection, they became Jews without a past. The Rav met many young people who did not know the name of their grandfather. They would say that he died a long time ago in the ?old country? and they forgot his name. Sadly, their I-awareness begins with his death, not his life. Their time awareness begins with their birth. The existence of the human being does not commence with his birth. The human being is born into the world as part of the endless stream of time. But if the world is born with him, if he has no past on which to draw, then his world is incomplete. On the other hand, to live in time, to feel the rhythm of time, one must move from the memory of the past to the unreality of the future. From events that were, to events that will be real someday. From reminiscing to anticipating. From visions of memory to visions of imagination. To live in time means a commitment to a great past and an unknown future.

To facilitate time awareness, Judaism wants man to be free in order to appreciate the moral element of responsibility for emerging events and the anticipation that involves his intervention in the historical process. Judaism teaches that man is created free so that he may make central decisions that mold and fashion not only his future, but the future of the world as well. Time awareness requires man to intervene when intervention is called for. That is why the Hagadah commences with Avadim Hayinu that retells our earliest history and concludes with the eschatological vision of Nishmas Kol Chai. One can’t relive an event without connecting past and future. In order to connect retrospection and anticipation, one must cherish the present fleeting moment as if it represented eternity. Judaism teaches that each moment is valuable and precious. Each moment is the link between the history of the past and the anticipation of the future. With the fraction of a second, one may realize life long hopes and aspirations, or he may lose them.

That is why the Halacha is so time conscious. Sometimes we might think that the Halachic obsession with time borders on the absurd. But of course it does not. Take for example, doing work around the boundary of the beginning of Shabbat. One may do work a minute before sunset. If one does the same act 2 minutes later he is bound to bring an Asham Talluy. Is one minute so important that it can now label the person a sinner? Can the fraction of a second be that important? We see that the fraction of a second is most important to the safety of the Apollo space program. The simplest miscalculation could spell the difference between life and death, success and failure. Apparently the Halacha is not alone in the valuation of adherence to time. The fulfillment of the mitzvah to recite Krias Shma in the morning requires that it must be completed by a certain time. One minute later, the act loses its value. There are many such cases.

The Rav mentioned the story of King Saul who failed to comply with the explicit order of Hashem regarding the complete destruction of Amalek. Saul sought to explain away his actions without taking responsibility. The monarchy was taken away from him. On the other hand, upon being told of his sin with Bas Sheva, David immediately accepted responsibility and pleaded for forgiveness and atonement.  The prophet immediately informed him that Hashem erased his sin. Why was David?s plea granted and Saul?s rejected? Because Saul argued with Samuel and tried to convince Samuel that he implemented his instructions. Only after Shmuel addressed himself to Saul his final words of rebuke that Hashem has torn away the monarchy from him, only then did Saul admit his failure. But it was to late and his destiny was sealed.

This is typical of Judaism. Time is critical, not simply hours, but seconds. Time appreciation is a singular gift granted to free man. He can utilize time to the utmost, he can also waste it. To the free man, time is equated with creativity, growth, opportunity and accomplishment. Time is a gift to the free man, he wants time to slow down. He feels the pressure of so much to do. For the slave, time is a curse. His time is not his own, it belongs to his master. He is insensitive towards time, life is motionless to the slave personality. The Rav observed that American Jews, after they pass their fiftieth birthday and the children take over the business, are frustrated that they have too much time on their hands. They feel unwanted by their families and unneeded by society. They are gripped with the fear of death. Their lives become motionless and meaningless, without focus, like the life of a slave. Torah scholars are inoculated from such psychological turmoil. The study of Torah is always important, whether one is young or old. The study of Torah extends the person?s view and reveals new dimensions of existence. The free man?s life expresses itself in the motion of physical and intellectual accomplishment, Vzarach Hashemesh U?Ba Hashemesh, the constant striving and re-striving to accomplish. The same can?t be said for the slave. What he neglected to do today can be made up tomorrow. The slave lacks the great excitement of opportunity knocking on the door and challenges that summon man to action, of great expectations coupled with the fear of failure. The slave never attempts and never succeeds. Any Mitzva that is inseparably bound up with time is inapplicable to him. The free man time lives a three dimensional life, past present and future, while the slave lives in the flat uni-dimensional present. No wonder the first cup of the Seder is bound with recital of Kiddush. Kiddush encapsulates the concept of time. Time in the Kantian philosophy is empty, it is a frame of reference, a coordinate system. The same is true of physics, it is quantified and measured by space, but it is not real time. Real time can?t be quantified. So how can one correlate the notion of measured time with Kdushas Hayom? Kdushas Hayom represents a living entity that is sanctified and endowed with creativity that can?t be captured by a simple measurement. The festivals are called Zemanim, times. Time is a blessed entity charged with meaning and sanctity. That?s why the first sign of the free man on the night of Pesach is to acknowledge the sanctity of this time, through Kiddush.

The Rav explained that even though a woman is not obligated to fulfill time bound Mitzvos, she differs from the slave in this regard. The Rav said in the name of his father that a woman is relieved of the obligation but if she performs it she is rewarded. Therefore the woman recites a blessing before fulfilling a time bound Mitzvah. Her act is as meaningful as that of a man. The woman lives in time even though she was relieved of the obligation. The slave is completely removed from the performance and the reward. Hence his act has no effect.

The Rambam inserted in his Hagadah that we begin Magid with the statements that our forefathers departed Egypt in a hurry. Why is this aspect of haste, Chipazon, so important that according to the Rambam it became the focal point of the evening? Because Chipazon means time consciousness. It is the excitement of hurrying, of trying to catch up, because I miss time, and I want to make sure that I am in a position to act when the opportunity next presents itself. Chipazon is the attempt to cover distance, to move forward quickly. This is the manifestation of the concept of living time. That is why the Rambam includes the statement at the start of Magid that regarding the haste of our forefathers  when they left Egypt 2 thousand years ago, for it was then that we regained the concept of time, and we became free.

The third typological principle is that a slave can?t effectuate a marriage. Judaism considers marriage not only as a sociological institution but also as a metaphysical existential community. It is not only an economic/social partnership of disparate biological units based on mutual benefit, but as personalistic union. Marriage means to tear down barriers that separate individuals from each other. To step out of the shadows of egocentricity and self concern and into the bright spaces of joint existential experience. Marriage is supposed to precipitate the transition from an individual to communal existence. From singular to together  existence. There are people who can?t undergo the shared existential metaphysical change. They always remain in existential retreat, isolated in metaphysical aloneness. They are incapable of sharing basic personalistic experiences and assume ultimate commitment towards another person beside himself.

Among the Sheva Brachos we have 2 similar blessings. The first, Yotzer Ha?adam, is a short version. We also have Asher Yatzar which also ends in Yotzer Haadam, a longer version. The first blessing does not refer to Eve. The second blessing mentions the divine nature of man?s character, his relatedness to Hashem. The second blessing also introduces Eve and describes human nature, that man was created in the image of God. Why? The first blessing deals with mundane, natural man, as a natural being. The Rav was not referring to the primitive brute. But rather to the sophisticated man, man doctor, man physicist etc., man who is capable of traveling to the moon. It refers to a man that can?t transcend himself or see beyond himself. He can?t transcend his natural boundaries and biological pressures. In his opinion there is nothing beyond nature, he is a prisoner of his own world outlook. Such a person can never form the ideal covenantal community. He can enter into a marriage contract for utilitarian pragmatic reasons but he is unable to bring about an existential community. Such a community is called Binyan Aday Ad in the second blessing. Only the person who is created in God?s image and can transcend himself  and extend their concern for others is capable of creating a covenantal community. The oppressed, tortured and insecure slave lacking a sense of pride, is incapable of thinking in terms of compassion and love for others. (The Rav was told by inmates in concentration camps that the concept of love towards siblings and family, and friendships towards others disappeared in the camps. They did not know what would happen in the next minute. They were absorbed with self preservation. Fright extinguishes everything noble and altruistic in a person. Everyone is his enemy, he can?t be concerned with the needs of others.  The symbol of Geula in the Torah is Korban Pesach. Pesach is distinct from all other sacrifices. The concept of a community does not exist by other sacrifices besides Pesach. Yet Pesach has been linked up with the concept of group to such an extent that according to one Tana only a group may offer the Pesach, an individual may not offer it. Why is Pesach different from all other sacrifices in this regard? Because Pesach is the symbol of community, it is called Seh Lbays Avos, because freedom expresses itself in the awareness of Bayis, community. This concept of Bayis, community, was revealed to the Jews with the dawning of their freedom.         

Now we have a definition of slave and free person as typological categories. The slave is a frightened personality, living in time without experiencing the movement of time, imprisoned to live by himself without the ability to share his experiences with anyone else. The free man is just the reverse.

Avadim Hayinu L?Paroh B?Mitzrayim. What is added by mentioning that we were slaves to Paroh in Egypt? There are 2 type of slaves, Sometimes the slave belongs to the individual. Other times the slave is property of the state. In the US before emancipation, the slave was the property of the individual master. In the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, there is/was slavery but the slaves were/are owned by the state. The Hagadah tells us that we were slaves to Paroh but not slaves to slaves. Why were Chazal concerned whether we worked for the state or were owned by individuals? After all, both forms of servitude are degrading.

When one is a slave to an individual master, at the personal level, some relationship between master and slave may develop. The slave may develop a position of power or authority within the master?s household. He may run the affairs of the house, like Joseph did in the house of Potifar. However, if the slave is the property of the cruel state, then no personal relationship is possible. The state and the oppressors of Egypt were as cruel on the first day of the servitude as they were years later. Slaves of the state lose their identity and become simply numbers. No matter how long an inmate may be incarcerated, he remains as unknown to the warden as the day he arrived in the prison. The life of the serf owned by the government and the lives of the inmates in the concentration camps and the gulags of Russia shared a common theme of all-consuming torture. Egypt of antiquity and Russia were very similar. Both were corporate states, technologically capable. In Egypt, the personality of the king was subsumed and standardized into a common name, Paroh. There was no individuality. We don?t know which one in particular was the leader. They were all cruel. The Soviet dictators were also indistinguishable from each other. They used the same terms and language when referring to their enemies and in their attempts to dominate those that oppose them. Both were societies based on slavery, (and the Rav said that the Soviet systems was a slave society) where the individuality submerges and instead of the heterogeneous crowd of a free  society you are faced with an impersonal and cruel society, like that of Paroh and Mitzrayim.

17. slavery
The answer of Avadim Hayinu, we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, is the answer written in Sefer Devarim (Parshas Vaeschanan) that is given to the wise son. We say Vayotzianu, and Hashem took us out of Egypt.
The exodus happened thousands of years ago, why do we include ourselves in this event? This is the principle of Bchal Dor Vdor, in each generation, we are obligated to view ourselves as if we just left Egypt. Before we begin to develop the theme of Yetzias Mitzrayim and its study, we lay down the premise of full identification with Jews of past generations and the events they encountered. Not only do we remember the events, but we relive and reenact, restage and re-experience these events. The Jew is closer to his past and history than any other nation. The best example is his attachment to Eretz Yisrael. The memory of the Jew is both factual and experiential. Not only do we remember the destruction of the temple, but we relive it each year during the 3 weeks and on Tisha Bav. The past does not die for the Jew. The focus of our celebration is Vayotzianu, it impacts us as much as our forefathers. Chachmay Hakaballah describe the life of man as an experience of various levels and stages of slavery. Man has many masters in his lifetime, sometimes he himself  (unknowingly) is both the master and slave. Through the story of the exodus we relive the individual and national redemption.
Instead of Avadim Hayinu L'Pharoh, we might have substituted the phrase Avday Pharaoh, we were the slaves of Paroh. The latter phrase would imply that the Jew lost his identity, his personality, his quest for freedom. It would give the impression that all the Jew knew was slavery and the service of his master. Avadim Hayinu L'Pharoh says that the social status of the Jew was that of a slave to Paroh. But slavery was an external manifestation. Internally, the Jew remained the descendant of the patriarchs and yearned for the day that he would be free. We find the phrase Avday Hashem, the slaves of God, which defines the Jew in terms of his total commitment to serve Hashem. Slavery can be both a social as well as a psychological institution. We may have been slaves to Paroh, but we always resented the servitude.

 וַיּוֹצִיאֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
18. Elokeynu
Vayotziyanu Hashem Elokaynu Misham. Why does the Hagadah include the word Elokaynu?
We must understand the semantics of the word Elokaynu and the phrase Hashem Elokaynu. We have the verse Shma Yisroel Hashem Elokaynu Hashem Echad. Hashem has been accepted as our King and whose law we are duty bound to abide by and implement. If the word Elokaynu would have been omitted, the use of the name Hashem (Tetragrammaton) would tell us that Hashem had mercy on us and took us out of Egypt, just as Hashem intervenes in nature and in various situations to rescue the oppressed from the oppressor. [Tape cut out momentarily at this point, just before the punch line? I am guessing that the Rav completed this thought in the following way?] The juxtaposition of the name Elokaynu tells us that there was an aspect of Din, judgment, associated with His actions, punishment for the Egyptians and the selection of Bay Yisrael as the Am Hashem for eternity. This selection was bound up with up willingness to submit to God and surrender our new found freedom to His will.

Is the committed Jew who observes 613 Mitzvos, a free person or not? Of course he is. Apparently we understand freedom from a different level than most people do. When we say M?Avdus L?Chayrus, freedom in our opinion is in the service of Hashem and conforming to His wishes. Hashem created man as a free being, He endowed man with the most cherished of all gifts: freedom. Yet God wants man to surrender his precious freedom and submit to His moral law. The first encounter between Hashem and man was the instructions given to Adam how to live. Apparently, man who is not bound by any code and has not surrendered to Hashem and His moral code, has not achieved full humanity. Man?s task is to surrender his freedom, his most precious gift. But by surrendering his freedom, man regains it, but at a higher level.

Fundamentally man is not a free being. At the physiological level, man is a confronted being. Man differs from the animals in the forest in that he is a confronted challenged being. He is a prisoner of natural laws and social institutions. Disaster can strike at any moment. He is subject to many restrictive measures, some due to his being a natural creature, while others are the result of his social integration. In fact, the greater the role of the person, the less his freedom. From this perspective, the President of the United States is the least free of men. Man is a social animal and subject to praise and the opinion of the people. All men, be they slaves or free men, are subject to restrictions, customs and mores of behavior that make the notion of free man nonsensical.

There is only one way to free man from his many phobias: surrender to Hashem. In antiquity man was afraid of leprosy. Modern man is still traumatized, but he has a different fear, fear of cancer. How many people are traumatized by the fear of developing this dreaded disease? Man is frightened of this possibility. The frightened man is not free. The only way to become free of this fright is through total surrender to God. One must have great fear of God as well. But a great fright frees man from little, smaller frights. Surrender to God does not mean surrender of freedom. It means that I must give up my freedom for a short time. For example, there are times that man?s natural urges lead him to violate certain laws, for example dietary or sex/morality. God wants man to surrender his free will in this case for a few seconds, till the urge passes. All man has to do is surrender temporarily to God and in a short while he will find that he is freer than ever before. If we had been taken out of Egypt without the attribute of Elokaynu, without accepting His code and without a willingness to surrender our freedom in order to attain a higher level of freedom, then we would be in bondage again. Had we exited Egypt without surrendering to Hashem and His laws, we would ultimately have been subjugated again by someone else, or by our fears and phobias.
מִשָּׁם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה
19. B’Yad Chazakah
B’Yad Chazakah U?Bzroah Netuyah. Jewish philosophy is based on the concept of Vhalachta Bdrochav. We must imitate the actions and ways of Hashem. If Hashem used Yad Chazakah and Zroah Ntuyah, we must emulate Him and use it as well. How are we supposed to act when we are called on to act and intervene in historical situations?

Yad Chazakah means effective action. Zroah Ntuyah means vigilance and being prepared. The idea expressed is that man is a responsible being. Judaism teaches that this responsibility transcends his immediate responsibility for his own actions, it is a part if his spiritual endowment. Man is charged with historical responsibility, Kol Yisrael Arayvim Zeh LaZeh. Man was called on to shape history towards worthwhile objectives. There are 2 groups of Mitzvos in Halacha, Tzibbur and Yachid, group and individual. Man?s activism and initiative within the historical drama is the foundation of Judaism. The individual is called upon from time to time to participate in the emergence and development of Knesses Yisrael. In order to participate in the historical drama one must possess two capabilities: 1) always be ready for action; 2) when action is called for, to act effectively.
Later on in the text, the Baal Haggadah interprets Yad Chazakah as the plague of Dever

20. Zroah Ntuya
Zroah Ntuya symbolizes vigilance. There are 2 aspects of vigilance. 1) In order to be watchful, one must be totally committed and dedicated. Who is watching? The mother is watchful when her child is ill. She is totally committed, watchful and keen. In Tanach we find that Mordechai portrayed such vigilance at its best. Mordechai was on guard as soon as Esther was taken to the palace. Because he was committed to her just like a father.  A worried parent is a vigilant parent. (Children on the other hand are not always worried about their parents, hence they can?t be described as vigilant.) The totally committed person stands guard against danger unconditionally. One can?t alert someone to danger unless he is concerned. The Jewish  community must be vigilant towards Eretz Yisrael and the Orthodox community in particular must be concerned with the preservation of Torah. It requires full commitment. The person who is not vigilant will act too late. 2) Vigilance goes beyond concern. One must possess historical perspective and the ability to discriminate between events that are truly critical and require immediate intervention and those that can wait.

Mordechai had a sensitivity to history. He had the foresight and prescience indispensable for crucial decision making. Esther and Mordechai were exchanging messages. They disagreed to such an extent that Mordechai sent her a very stern warning. The crux of the disagreement was that Esther felt that she should wait to approach the king. She had not been summoned to appear before the king. If she acts prematurely she would in all likelihood be killed and then no one will be able to intercede on behalf of the people. Since the edict was issued before Pesach and the enactment of the edict was not due to happen for another year, there would be ample opportunity to act over the coming year. After all, over such a long period of time she will surely receive an invitation to appear before the king and at that time she would plead for the people. Mordechai disagreed and insisted that she act immediately. Mordechai was obviously right. He was sensitive to the needs of the situation. It is easy to rationalize secondary decisions of preference, why I like this car and not the other one. But when one asks why he is willing to sacrifice his life for a situation or a community, he cannot offer a rational explanation. Suddenly a light goes on and I grope towards my destination, to my decision. I know that I will somehow get there, but I don?t know how. 

Shuvi Shuvi Hashulamis, the gentile people address themselves to Knesses Yisrael. Why do you show such dedication to Hashem and Torah? Come back to us and forget about all of that. Why remain a Jew? Give up your madness and your unlimited, bizarre commitment. She answers what can I tell you, I am involved in a dance between two camps, I cannot free myself from the dance. One cannot be a non-Jew, it is a part of me that I can?t explain or rationalize. It is a basic experience that can?t be explained or changed. It is an eternal commitment that is part of my I-awareness and my existence. Can I explain my relationship to my parents and children? I cannot define my existence in terms of a lack of commitment to God, like you. I must define it in terms of what I am committed to, to God and His Torah. It is the central experience and such an experience can?t be explained. Mordechai could not explain his pressure on Esther, he just knew that eventually he would be proven right. This dance is an eternal dance that the Jewish community is engaged in till the coming of Moshiach.

When the Jew intervenes he must do it with a full heart. The Jewish community never undertook half measures in the past.

וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה.
21. Zroah
The answer to the Ben Chacham given in Vaeschanan says that Hashem took us out of Egypt B'Yad Chazakah. The Avadim Hayinu, essentially quotes the answer as given in Vaeschanan, and mentions B'Yad Chazakah, simply described as the mighty hand of Hashem, k'vayachol, that punished Paroh. However it also includes the words Zeroah Netuyah which are not found in Vaeschanan. These words come from the text of Arami Ovayd Avi at the beginning of Parshas Ki Tavo. The Rav asked why is this phrase from Arami Ovayd added to the Yad Chazakah that was mentioned in Vaeschanan as part of the answer to the Ben Chacham presented in Avadim Hayinu?
The Rav explained Zeroah Netuyah as the promise that Hashem will repeat the miracles of the exodus for Bnay Yisrael. It represents the promise that Hashem is prepared and ready to protect us from assimilation and annihilation throughout the generations and is constantly watching over Bnay Yisrael. Yad Chazakah alone, which connotes the recognition of the miracles Hashem brought in Egypt and to Paroh and our resultant obligation to perform the Mitzvos of Pesach, would have been a sufficient answer to the question of the Ben Chacham. The miracles done for us during the exodus from Egypt alone would have been sufficient for us celebrate Pesach and thank Hashem for that redemption. The Sefer Chinuch describes the section of Arami Ovayd, the Mitzvah of Bikurim (which contains the term Yad Chazakah), as an obligation to show Hakaras Hatov, to recognize and thank Hashem, for all the miracles and acts of Chesed He has done for us throughout the ages. We also tell the Chacham at the seder, as implied by the term Zeroah Netuyah, that we are obligated to give Hakaras Hatov to Hashem for all these miracles, past and future.

 וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, הֲרֵי אָנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם.
22. Recognition of liberation
We have a second statement later in the Haggadah of בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָיִם. Why do we need both apparently redundant statements? There are 2 aspects which we need to recognize, the historical fact that God took our forefathers out of Egypt which only by extension is relevant to us. There also is an obligation to make the exodus personal, as the Rambam says that a person must view the seder night as if he himself, right now, is leaving Egypt. For the former, relating the story would have been sufficient. However regarding personalization this serves as an impetus for another obligation; Halel, he experience of feeling as we left creates an ability to recite a specific Bircas Hashevach for taking us out as well. This is consistent with the Gemara (Berachos 58b) which notes different Berachos to be recited when one passes a place where a miracle happened to his forefathers versus when he passes a place where he himself was saved by a miracle. At first we thank God for saving our forefathers and must fulfill the obligation to offer a blessing when passing the place where one's forefathers were saved. The second aspect is for personal salvation. We associate Hallel with the aspect of personal salvation, as we emulate the redemption as if it was happening to us right now. 

 וַאֲפִילוּ כֻּלָּנוּ חֲכָמִים  כֻּלָּנוּ נְבוֹנִים כֻּלָּנוּ זְקֵנִים כֻּלָּנוּ יוֹדְעִים אֶת הַתּוֹרָה

Afilu Kulanu Chachamim, Kulanu Nvonim? Haray Zeh Mshubach. This is subject to two interpretations.  One is subjunctive. The other uses the grammatical indicative. One explanation of the statement is that even if all of us were wise and if all of us were intelligent and if all of us were scholars we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus. But it is quite tempting to interpret the statement in the indicative: We are wise and we are scholars and we do know the Torah, we are still obligated to study the exodus. The verse does not refer to the hypothetical but rather the reality. Also, if the subjunctive is correct, and we really are not capable, then why do we have to relate the story? On the other hand, if we are using the indicative form, doesn?t it smack of haughtiness?
The potential of studying Torah is latent in every Jew. Every Jew can be a great scholar and attain Chachma, Binah and Daas. Even one who has failed to take advantage of the gift to study Torah. If a good teacher explains it, each Jew will be able to learn and follow. Torah is the possession of the entire Knesses Yisrael. The democratic philosophy of education is the Jewish philosophy. throughout world history, access to education was controlled by the aristocracy. Judaism always insisted on an exoteric approach to Torah education, that the opportunity to study and acquire knowledge be given to everyone. Because the Torah is not outside the Jew but it resides in the Jew. Sometimes he is conscious of it. Sometimes he is not. There is the knowledge of Torah and the sensitivity towards Torah.

On Pesach night we reenact the events where each Jew beheld the divine revelation. The revelation was a public spectacle not only at the Red Sea, but also on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan. On that night every Jew was wise, sensitive and intelligent. Every Jew felt the presence of God, and was initiated into the inner circle. The Jews that left Egypt were met by Hashem. Each Jew must reenact that feeling of encountering the Shechina on the night Pesach.      

The Rav said that the indicative form is applicable here as well. [repetitive]  The obligation on this night is to study the events that occurred in Egypt. We don’t we tell the complete tale. We read and explain the Parsha of Oveyd Avi instead of the complete story as written in Sefer Shmos. If the goal was to simply tell the story on the night of Pesach, we would have studied Sefer Shmos instead.  We only mention the highlights and we are interested in exploring the verses of Arami Oveyd Avi. Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is inseparably linked with Talmud Torah on the night of Pesach. It is a Mitzvah of Talmud Torah. The Torah has prepared unique answers for the questions of the 4 sons, but there is a common denominator: teach them about Egypt and the exodus, but teach them the laws, Talmud Torah. The 4 answers that the Torah prepared are indicative that we must teach each child according to his ability. Every Jew is endowed with the potential to comprehend Torah. Rabbi Simlai says that each fetus is taught Torah within the womb and the angel slaps him prior to birth and he forgets. Why teach him if he will forget? Because Torah must be acquired through hard work. If so why teach him in the womb? In order that subsequent study of Torah during his lifetime should be a process of remembering something that he once knew. Plato said that all learning is remembering. Since he knew it once it is not alien and he can reproduce it again.
[As mentioned before, the narrative section begins with Arami Oved Avi and concludes with the interpretation of Rabban Gamliel's statement on Pesach Matzah and Marror. Why were the sections based on the explanation of Arami Oved Avi selected to form the core of the Haggadah? If the main purpose is to tell the story of the exodus, why don't we simply read the sections in the Torah from Parshas Shmos through Parshas Bo which tell the story of the exodus in detail? After all the Haggadah does not really contain extensive stories of the exodus. Our Maggid is barely a synopsis of the events of the exodus. Indeed, the Karaites would read the stories from the Torah on the night of Pesach as their "Haggadah". Why select a portion from Sefer Dvarim instead of a section from Sefer Shmos as the central part of Maggid? ]
See below for a second version of this shiur)
The Baal Haggadah mentions Afilu Kulanu Chachamim Kulanu Nevonim Kulanu Zekaynim Kulanu Yodim es Hatorah. Why were Zekaynim included here (according to some texts it is omitted)? Zekaynim implies a Baal Horaah, for example Zakayn Mamreh, a member of the Sanhedrin who rebels against the majority opinion of Beis Din. The members of the Sanhedrin were called Zekaynim.
The original Beis Din chosen by Moshe in the desert was selected by a lottery where the tickets stated Zakayn or were left blank. So there is a close association between Zakayn and Sanhedrin, who were the most knowledgeable in Torah.
The Baal Haggadah is telling us that even those that are far superior in their Torah knowledge are obligated to participate in an exchange of views about Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. The Haggadah tells us who was gathered around the table in Bnai Brak. It included students like Rabbi Akiva and their master teachers like Rabbi Yehoshua. The Rambam juxtaposes the Halachos of one who has no child to ask him the questions and the obligation of scholars to participate in Sippuir Yetzias Mitzrayim, saying that he who extends himelf in this Mitzvah is Meshubach. What is the connection between these disparate individuals as to their obligation of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim?
The Rav explained that the fundamental Mitzvah underlying Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is Talmud Torah, which has no upper limit. The more one discusses the more he knows about Yetzias Mitzrayim, the more different viewpoints he has about it, the more nuances he sees in it. Even the greatest scholars should learn one from the other in order to increase their knowledge base, which makes them Meshubach, improved in their knowledge of Torah.
The Rav explained the other intellectual personalities described by the Haggadah. The three mentioned are Chacmah Binah and Daas. The Rav based this on the verse where Hashem selected Betzalel to build the Mishkan. "V'amalay Oso Ruach Elokim B'chachma U'betvunah Uvdaas", Betzalel was gifted with these various qualities that were all needed to build the Mishkan. This notion is said every day in the bracha of Ata Chonen, we pray for Chachmah Binah and Daas. (The alternate text of Deah Binah Vehaskel is essentially the same, in the reverse order.) The Rav described Chachmah as the ability to be Mechadesh things in Torah, someone who has an almost mystical gift for feeling their way through a difficult topic in Torah, where they will all of a sudden be hit with an idea that will unravel a major question or discrepancy. The Rav mentioned that Reb Chaim Brisker was such an individual. He had the "Nefesh Hatorah" which would express itself by illuminating the intellectual darkness with a bolt of lightning, a chiddush, that solved the problem.
The second quality is that of Binah. This describes someone who is capable of analyzing and organizing different opinions and concepts and make them readily understandable. He possesses a wealth of knowledge that he can draw on to resolve questions and present his viewpoint in a discourse.
The third quality is that of Daas. This the Rav described as those that are capable of being undisputed and recognized Baaly Horaah.  Such gedolim like Reb Yitzchak Elchanan, who lived in the time when there were many great Gedolei Torah, are still sought out in areas of Horaah, even by other Gedolim.
Each of these three personalities will view the Mitzvas Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim differently, yet in a completely valid way. The Rav compared this to the Gemara (Gittin 67a) where Isi Ben Yehuda was enumerating the various Tanaim and their strengths. Each Tana had a different quality that made him special and that made his learning and teaching unique. For such gedolim there is also an obligation to participate in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim to improve their own knowledge and add to the knowledge of others.

Version two
Afilu Kulanu Chachamim… Haray Zeh Mshubach. The older Hagadah texts omit the word Zkaynim. A later printer added Zkaynim, even the Rambam's Hagadah text was altered to include Zkaynim. The language style of Chachamim, Nvonim, Yodim Es HaTorah is reminiscent of the phrase applied to Betzalel, and I have filled him with Chachma etc. The intellectual process of understanding includes Chochma, Binah and Daas. Chochma is an intuition that is the result of many years of pursuit of a branch of study. The distinguishing characteristic of a scholar is his focus on a difficult problem that weighs constantly on him until suddenly he sees a solution, as if a light was switched on. The closer one comes to the true answer, the more his intuition turns into a notion and ultimately into free logical thinking. Chochma is this intuitive vision, the original flash of light. Chachmay HaKabalah called it Nekuda Kadmai. You can't do much with it by itself, but it is the intuitive building block necessary to solve the problem. Rashi refers to this as Ruach HaKodesh.
Ultimately the intuition turns into a theory. This is Binah. Some scholars are very intuitive but they have difficulty in developing their intuition into a theory. The Rav recalled a student of Reb Chaim who was an assistant to and collaborator of Albert Einstein who described Einstein's genius in terms of his intuitive ability. He had difficulty when it came to formalizing his theory and formulating it in mathematical terms. His assistants would formalize his intuition. The Targum Yerushalmi interprets Breishis Bara as B'Chochma Bara, Hashem created the world with intuitive genius, then He developed it. Some scholars are intuitive thinkers while others were systemetizers and classifiers. The same was true of Chazal. The Rav described Reb Chaim as an intuitive genius who found it difficult to explain his ideas. That is why his Sefer Chidushei Rabbeinu Chaim Halevi is so difficult to understand. Others were great in applying ideas to developing things, for example Edison was not a great theorist, but he was capable of applying his knowledge effectively. This is Tevuna.
Chachmay HaKabalah all agree that there is a 3 part division of the intellectual process. They only disagree with regards to nomenclature. According to Rashi it starts with Daas and concludes with Chochma while the rest of Chachmay HaKabalah start with Chochma and conclude with Daas. Often, scholars are strong in one of these disciplines and weak in the others. Many can deliver an excellent shiur but are weak when it comes to Halacha L'Maaseh. The reverse is also true. (It is the truly rare scholar who excels in all three areas.)
The Baal Hagadah introduces 3 different scholars: the creative genius, the classifier/systemetizer and the applied developer. All of them are supposed to engage in the study of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is not simply a narration of the story. It must be studied through each of these three disciplines. Basically Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is the study of the past, present and future of the Jewish People. In order for us to appreciate our destiny we must understand it intuitively, systematically and through its application. Each of these approaches is requisite for the complete fulfillment of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim.
The Gemara describes the intellectual qualities of Chazal. Rabbi Eliezer would bring so many proofs that his audience would be bewildered by his depth of knowledge. Rabbi Akiva was a classifier. These scholars were all present that night in Bnay Brak. Each brought his own unique perspective to Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim.
Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is an example of a democratic Mitzvah, equally accessible to all. For example, Tefillin, Matzo, Tzitzis are examples of exoteric democratic Mitzvos that can be performed equally by the greatest of scholars as well as the most ignorant person. However there is one Mitzvah in the Torah that is esoteric, that depends on the capabilities of the individual: Talmud Torah. The intellectually gifted student will always accomplish more than the less capable student. There is an undeniable fact that when it comes to knowledge, some people are privileged while others are under privileged. In the fulfillment of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim and Talmud Torah the intellectual aristocracy is called on to contribute their expertise and their share. The story of the scholars engaged in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim in Bnay Brak confirms this idea.
But what about the less capable student? What about the student who is neither a Chacham, Navon or Yodea Es HaTorah? What is his obligation regarding Talmud Torah and Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim? The Torah is the heritage of the entire community. That is why we immediately say Baruch HaMakom Baruch Hu. Even though the intellectually capable undeniably have a great share in the Torah (for example the share of the Rambam and the Vilna Gaon is great relative to the average Jew), the Torah was given to all: the Chacham, Rasha, Tam and Sh'ayno Yodea Lishol.

מִצְוָה עָלֵינוּ לְסַפֵּר
The Rambam states explicitly (Hilchos Chametz Umatzah 7:10) that Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is not just an obligation to speak about it, but one must take steps to demonstrate that he also left Egypt on this night. Examples of this are the drinking of the 4 cups of wine and the requirement to eat in a leaning position. In both cases he is demonstrating the freedom that he now enjoys.

 The mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim includes the re-telling of the story of the exodus as well as the obligation to learn the Halachos of Pesach. The Hagaos Maymaniyos (end of Hilchos Chametz and Matzah) says there is an obligation to learn the laws of Pesach all night based on the Tosefta (Pesachim 10:8) that states that Rabban Gamliel and the Chachamim that were in the house of Bytis Ben Zunin and discussed the Halachos of Pesach all night. (this is a variation of the story of Rabbi Eleazr and the other Tanaim that spent the entire night discussing Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim.) The Vilna Gaon derives this obligation to learn the Halachos of Pesach from the answer given to the Ben Chacham, (which according to the Gaon was) we must teach him all the Halachos of Pesach, UNTIL (Ad) Ayn Maftirin Achar Hapesach Afikomen.
There are 3 Mitzvos involved in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim: 1) telling the story (Sippur);
2) Singing praise to Hashem for taking us out of bondage    (Hallel V'Shevach) based on Hashir Hazeh Yihyeh Lachem Klayl    Hiskadesh Chag; 3) learning the Halachos of Pesach.
The third is the most important as the concept of Vayetzavainu Hashem Laasos Es Kal Hachukim Hayleh, the receipt of the Torah on Har Sinai, was the ultimate goal of the exodus. (The Sefer HaChinuch says that Counting of the Omer is intended to connect Pesach and Shavuos, as the exodus was the medium for Kabbalas Hatorah which was the desired end. Shavuos is called Atzeres because it is the conclusion of the holiday of Pesach.)

 The word LSAPER is derived from the root SPR םפר this could have the meaning to tell or the connotation of a book

Sippur, as in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, comes from the word Saper, the same root that includes Sofer, which is Hebrew for scribe. A scribe is not the same as a simple writer. Throughout Tanach the word Sofer is used to indicate that the position of scribe was one of importance, for example Sofrei Hamelech in Megilas Esther. In Talmudic parlance, Sofer means a Talmid Chacham, a scholar. In contrast to Divray Torah we have the term Divrei Sofrim, which are the teachings of the scholars. There are many examples in the Talmud where the word Sofer refers to the scholar.
Apparently the Hebrew language scribe or scholar is distinguished by his ability to write. A Talmid Chacham must be capable of writing. Historically, when a Jew showed the ability to write, he was accepted as a scholar. The statements of the transmitters of learning, the Maatikay Hashemuah, are referred to as Divray Sofrim.

The definition of Sippur goes beyond simple oral story telling, but it includes the ability to tell a story through writing it down. The word Sefer, book, derives from the same root, L'Saper, to tell a story. In Hebrew, writing and oral communication are both included in the framework of the root word Saper. The Gemara says that Megilas Esther refers to itself first as an Igeres, letter, and later as a Sefer, a book. There are significant differences between these 2 forms of writing. A letter is written for a short term purpose. It does not need to be written on parchment; it can be missing letters and may not be complete yet it still conveys the gist of the story. In contrast, a Sefer is intended to transmit the story to future generations. It requires parchment and if even one little letter is missing it is halachically voided. For example, the prophet commanded the people to write contracts on their land in a Sefer and place them in earthen vessels so that they may last a long time. Sefer documents an event for present and future generations. Another example: Hashem commanded Moshe to document the eternal conflict between God and Amalek in the Sefer and transmit it to Joshua. This message could only be transmitted through a Sefer.

Chazal note that a major Kabbalah principle is that Hashem created the world through acts of Kesiva, writing. For example, the notion of  writing is found by the 10 commandments that were written Betzba Elokim, K'vayachol, by the finger of God. The Sefer Hayetzira maintains that the world was created through 3 Seforim (forms of the word Saper): B'sfor, B'sippur U'Bsefer, through counting, relating a story and through the book. We know from the Torah that Hashem wrote the Luchos, but how does the Sefer Yetzira know that the world was created through these 3 forms of the word Saper? According to the Kuzari (4:25) , when the Torah repeatedly mentions Vayomer Elokim, it is referring to the act of Sippur by Hashem. The result of this Sippur was the Sefer, all of creation. It was the word of God that created the world and is embedded in nature and continues to drive it. At the same time, nature must obey the will of Hashem. If  the flowers bloom, the birds fly, man walks and the heavenly bodies remain in motion it is because this is the Ratzon Hashem, the will of God. The manifestation of the will of God was inscribed into every function of nature. According to the Baal Shem Tov, the word of God, the Vayomer Elokim, that created everything is as real and ongoing today as it was at the time of creation, Udvarcha Emes Vkayam Load, and Your words are true and everlasting.

Chazal valued very highly of the ability to write. Chazal say that Ksav Vmichtav were among the miraculous things that were created at twilight of the sixth day prior to the onset of the Shabbat. Chazal recognized the amazing gift in the ability of man to  to record events that happened thousands of years ago in such a way as to allow subsequent generations to identify with, understand and appreciate the thoughts and feelings that moved the author so many years before. The events of past generations are alive for us today. For example, when we read in the Torah the stories of the patriarchs and the 12 tribes, we feel as if we are part of the actual events that are unfolding before us. We cry with Joseph when he is sold into slavery by the brothers and we rejoice with him when he is elevated to the position of Viceroy of Egypt. We travel with Abraham as he leaves Charan for the unknown land of Canaan and our hearts skip a beat as Yaakov narrowly departs with the blessings before Esau enters his father's room. Reading the written word allows us to span generations  in an instant and to identify with our ancestors. Educators today must make the stories of the Torah come alive for their students and make them feel as if they are part of the story and not some impartial bystander.
In contrast, the Rav noted that today, unfortunately, parents and  children can't communicate across a gap of a single generation. Children of today can't understand or relate to the experiences of their parents. To many Jews today, the Lech Lecha of their parents, their life experiences and their Judaism, means nothing to them. In order for us to inject meaning into the stories that we write during our lives, we must do more than simply put words on paper. We have to create a climate through which we appreciate all the events that shaped Jewish history, for example to feel the pain of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash or to understand other events in Jewish history. Today we have many aids to study, unprecedented numbers of  translations of the various texts are readily available to the masses to assist them in study. However in too many cases, we have words written on paper, but we lack the atmosphere of involvement and participation in the events we study. The greatest Sofer, scribe, is not one who can write on parchment or paper, but rather the one who can write on the hearts of living beings and influence their lives. The great scribe is the one that can transmit a living Torah that passes on the Torah world of Rabbi Akiva, the Rambam and the Vilna Gaon to the next generation. This is Torah Shbeal Peh, which is dependant on the ability of each generation to make these experiences come alive for the subsequent generation to ensure that the flame of Torah burns for eternity. The scholars were called Sofrim because they were the transmitters of the tradition between generations. Their greatest accomplishment was not the writing of Torah on paper, but rather etching Torah into the hearts and souls of their students to keep it alive for subsequent generations, creating living Seforim.

One need not write tomes during his life to earn the title of Sofer. For example, we have no recorded writings from the Baal Shem Tov. Yet his vast Torah was spread throughout the world by his living Seforim, the many students that he taught during his life. Moshe Rabbeinu was called Safra Rabba D'Yisrael, the great scribe of Israel. Did Moshe spend his time as a scribe of Sifrei Torah, Tefilin and Mezuzos (STAM)? We find that Moshe wrote a Sefer Torah towards the end of his life. Yet he earned the title as the great scribe in Israel because of the Torah he taught all Bnay Yisrael and how he inscribed it into the parchment of their hearts and souls so that they might act as the scribes that would teach the next generation. Just as the original word of God continues to drive nature, so to the Torah that Moshe gave Bnay Yisrael in the desert is as alive for us today as it was thousands of years ago. It is the ability to transmit  from generation to generation, despite great difficulties, without diluting the message that makes Bnay Yisrael unique.

Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is more than telling a story. Vhigadta L'Bincha means that the father must write the book that will become his son. It is the obligation of the father to view his son as a Sefer to be carefully written and not as an Igeres. The obligation to be the scribe of this book extends well beyond the Seder night to encompass all of life. Bchal Dor V'dor Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo K'ilu Hu Yataza M'Mitzrayim, in every generation the Jew must view himself as if he has just left Egypt. Man must feel that he has participated in the entire, collective Jewish experience and he must inscribe this knowledge into the book that is his child. Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is the book of Jewish existence. The greatest accomplishment is when a father carefully transmits his experiences so that he may pass it on intact to his child before he passes on.

There were many great scholars who were not able to permanently inscribe themselves into the Sefer that was their children. They were only able to write an Igeres, a short term note, that their  children quickly erased when they left home. Yet there are simple parents who succeeded in making a permanent inscription into their children's personality. They were able to write on the hearts of their children their Seder, their feelings on Tisha Bav, the beauty of their Shabbat, the solemnity of their Yom Kippur and their blessing of their children before Kol Nidrei in a way that made a lasting impression on the child, an impression that stayed with him throughout many years of separation and struggle. The Rav asked why should the scholar fail where the simple person succeeds?
Chazal say that there  are 10 synonyms for prophecy, one of which is  the word Masa. There are 2 explanations why Masa refers to prophecy. The first is that the prophet would raise his voice when presenting the message of God to the people. The second is the Rambam in the Guide (Moreh Nvuchim) who explains that Masa is used to indicate that prophecy was a heavy load for the prophet to bear. The essence of prophecy is that it is a truth entrusted only to the specific prophet. He is the only one privileged to know this truth communicated to him by Hashem. The vision is a burden that does not let him rest. He has a need to spurt forth spontaneously and a desire to share it with others. For example, when someone is entrusted with a secret they have a difficult time maintaining the confidence. They find themself constantly struggling to refrain from blurting it out. The prophet seeks to unburden himself by telling the message of God to others.

When it comes to a prophecy or to Torah that a Jew knows, the only relief from his load comes through sharing it with others. The Rambam says that the prophet is required to tell his prophecy to others even when he knows that his intended audience is not interested in the message and may seek to harm him as a result of it, even if it costs him his life.
Jeremiah was an example of a prophet who wanted to hold back his prophecy when the scoffers opposed him but he could not hold it back. When the Jew has a prophecy or Torah to transmit, he must view it as a Masa, a heavy burden, that in order to endure must be transmitted with great care and exactness as a Sefer to the next generation and not as an Igeres.

The ability of the Jewish parent to sacrifice themself for their child is so great that it approaches the point of self negation. How can such a person refrain from transmitting to his child the beauty of Shabbat, Yom Tov Tanach or Torah Shebal Peh and the great Jewish personalities? Like the prophet of old, he can't control himself, he must blurt out the message. If he does not transmit it to his child, the reason must be because he himself is lacking the feeling for these things. In order to be a successful scribe, you yourself must feel the burden of prophecy, the Masa Dvar Hashem.

In essence, this is the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, V'Higadta L'Bincha, and you shall instruct your children. A Jew must present his child with a Sefer and not an Igeres. Inscribing such a Sefer for the next generation is the way for every Jew to attain the level of prophecy in his lifetime. If you would ask what is the greatest characteristic of Knesses Yisrael, it is the  great wonder of Jewish History, the ability to engage in  Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim not just on Pesach night. It is the ability for one generation to turn the subsequent generation into its carefully written Sefer.

The Rav noted that the night of Pesach is a symbol for this inter-generational transmission process. We are all familiar with the story of the great rabbis that were assembled in Bnay Brak and were involved in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim all that night till dawn. The Rav asked which night was it? The Rav interpreted the night as extending beyond that immediate night of Pesach. The "Night" refers to the long and dark exile period that we have endured for 2 thousand years. It is the long night of pogroms and blood libels and crusades and inquisitions and holocaust that we have endured. Not only were Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Yehoshua at that table, but Gedolei Rishonim and Achronim who lived through the rain of Jewish blood and misery throughout the ages were there as well. Yet despite all these difficulties, Gedolei Yisrael recognized that they had a mission to be the scribes of the their generation, not in terms of writing books but as scribes that engrave a love of Torah in the heart of each Jew. Gedolei Yisrael carried the burden, the Masa Hashem, and transmitted their Torah as an inter-generational Sefer and not as a fleeting Igeres. They seized on the method Hashem uses, the Sippur Bsefer, writing on the book of creation, to ensure the continuity of faith in Hashem and the eternity of the Jewish people. The Torah remains alive to us today because of them. If not for their efforts, we would not be able to sit at our Seder table and discuss the exodus on the night of Pesach.  Jews are called the Am Hasefer, the people of the book, not because they are avid readers, but because each and every Jew is a living book that has been authored by the previous generations.

How long must we function as Sofrim, as scribes? When does the Jew complete his assignment of studying Torah? How long must we emulate the ways that Hashem created the world, through Sfor, Sippur and Sefer?
Until we see that the next generation is ready to shoulder the load and  its role in this never ending chain. Until the students knock on their teachers' door and say "Our Teachers, the time to recite the morning Shema has arrived", that they are now ready to assume the leadership role. The essence of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is to create the living books, the Seforim, that will ensure the continuity of Torah and Judaism, is not limited to the night of Pesach. It is an eternal mission.

בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. וְכָל הַמַּרְבֶּה לְסַפֵּר בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח:
In Tanach, we find the word Saper used together with the accusative or objective case, Es. But when it comes to Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim the objective case is replaced with the ablative, Lsaper Bytzias Mitzrayim. Grammatically the ablative case does not belong here. We find many cases where Sapper is linked with the objective case. Why do we use the term Lsaper B'Yetzias Mitzrayim? Because Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is much more than telling a story. It is an investigation, a study to comprehend, an analysis of the exodus. (The Rav said that if he would quit his position as Rosh Yeshiva and concentrated on the Hagadah it would take him over a year to study it.) 

מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְרַבִּי טַרְפוֹן

The Yerushalmi (Peah 3b) bears out this principle. The Gemara relates the story of the mother of Rabbi Tarfon who took a stroll in the courtyard. She broke her shoelace and was unable to walk any further. Rabbi Tarfon placed his hands under her feet to allow her to walk on his hands until she reached her bed. Once, Rabbi Tarfon became seriously ill and the Rabbis came to visit him. When they arrived, his mother begged them to pray for her son, Rabbi Tarfon, who has the merit of honoring his mother, Kibbud Aym, fulfilling this Mitzva above and beyond what is required of him. She related the story to them of how he allowed her to walk on his hands till she reached her bed. After hearing the story, the Rabbis declared, that even if he had done so 1 million times, he still would not have achieved half the respect the Torah demands from a child to a parent.
Why did the Rabbis belittle and condemn Rabbi Tarfon's performance of the Mitzvah of Kibbud Aym? After all, where was their compassion for an old woman who begs them to pray for her son, a son that was the great Rabbi Tarfon? Kibbud Aym is one of the Mitzvos that extend the life of the one who performs it, so what was wrong with the way he performed the Mitzvah or with his mother mentioning it as a merit and Zchus?
The answer is that the Rabbis were thinking about Rabbi Tarfon's true mission in life. Logically, one would assume that his mission was to be one of the elders of Yavneh, to be the Talmudic partner of Rabbi Akiva, to teach Torah and be a critical link in the Massorah, tradition, to the succeeding generations. Apparently Chazal were not so certain of this. Maybe his true mission in life was not to be a great scholar, but rather he was sent to perform the Mitzvah of Kibbud Aym for an elderly mother. Perhaps for the task of perpetuating the Massorah alone, Hashem might have sent someone else, and there would have been no need for Rabbi Tarfon to become the great scholar he was. So apparently he had another mission as well, but perhaps that mission was secondary to the one of Kibbud Aym. When the Rabbis heard from his mother that he had fulfilled the obligation of Kibbud Aym completely, they realized that once his mission is complete, the messenger is no longer needed. They said that Rabbi Tarfon had not even begun to approach the fulfillment of Kibbud Aym, which perhaps might have been his life mission. Therefore he needed to regain his health in order to continue his pursuit of this mission. Heaven forbid that he should be considered to have completed his mission!
Chazal said (Taanis 9b) that sometimes Hashem makes it rain over an entire continent in order that one blade of grass may grow. Similarly, a great person, as great as Rabbi Tarfon, can be sent down to this world to fulfill a seemingly insignificant mission, to serve an elderly mother, or to help a fellow Jew.
This is a tremendous lesson that we all should learn, never to say that such a task is beneath me, or others can do it better than me. This would be in opposition to Judaic thought.  That is why Chazal emphasized that man should be as careful in the performance of a Mitzvah Kallah, an ostensibly simple
Mitzvah to fulfill, as he would be in the performance of a Mitzvah Chamurah, a complicated and difficult Mitzvah. For just like no one knows the true reward for a Mitzvah, one does not know for what purpose he was created and sent out as a Shliach Hashem.

 שֶׁהָיוּ מְסֻבִּין בִּבְנֵי בְרַק וְהָיוּ מְסַפְּרִים בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם כָּל אוֹתוֹ הַלַּיְלָה, עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ תַלְמִידֵיהֶם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם רַבּוֹתֵינוּ הִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁל שַׁחֲרִית

The signifacance of the morning can be discerned by the biblical story of Yacov and his struggle with his mysterious celestial foe. The night before he was to encounter his known enemy, Esav, he was attacked by a mysterious stranger, described simply as Ish. Yaakov attempted to learn the name of his opponent, but was not successful. He remained nameless. This encounter was symbolic of all the subsequent battles throughout the generations when the Jewish People were confronted by mysterious, nameless enemies who make outrageous demands on us that we can not comprehend. At times the troubles of the world are blamed on the Jew. We have been accused of being at the center of socialism, communism, capitalism etc. and we are forced into life and death struggles, yet we often do not know why they attack us. Yaakov and the Ish struggled and kicked up dust in their battle, yet in the end Yaakov did not know what his opponent wanted from him and why he attacked him. Yaakov must have compared his opponents to each other, thinking to himself that he understands what Esav wants and how to work around him, but what does this nameless foe want from him?
The Torah says that when the Ish realized that he could not defeat Yaakov, he dislocated his thigh. The Midrash says that this is a reference to the generation of Shemad and assimilation. Even though we don't understand why the battle was forced on us, the end result can be, Gd forbid, Shemad.
The struggle with the nameless Ish extends all night till the dawn as the Torah says,  Ad Alos Hashachar. This is symbolic that our battle with the nations of the world and our nameless foes will continue till the coming of Moshiach.

אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְּבֶן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא זָכִיתִי שֶׁתֵּאָמֵר יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם בַּלֵּילוֹת עַד שֶׁדָּרְשָׁהּ בֶּן זוֹמָא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, לְמַעַן תִּזְכּוֹר אֶת יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ.
This is part of the response to the wise son. This teaching is a Mishna in Brachos (12b), which deals with the daily obligation to Remember the Exodus, the wise son needs to learn the subtleties between the daily mitzvah of remembering the Exodus Zichira, and the unique mitzvah of the night retelling the exodus Sippur Yitziat Mitzraim.
The Rambam (Hilchos Chametz Umatzah 7:1) says that there is a positive commandment to retell the miracles that Hashem did  for our forefathers on the 15th  of Nissan as it says Zachor Es Hayom Hazeh Asher Yetzasem Mmitzrayim, similar to Zachor Es Yom Hashabbat Lkadsho. Why does the Rambam make the comparison to Shabbat?

The Mechilta Drabbi Yishmael and Rashi derive the obligation of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim from the verse Lmaan Tizkor Es Yom Tzascha Mayeretz Mitzrayim Kol Yemay Chayecha. The verse of Zachor Es Hayom Hazeh is the source for the obligation to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim twice daily as part of Krias Shema. The Rambam derives the obligation to mention Yetzias Mitzrayim as part of Krias Shema from the verse Lmaan Tizkor, leaving the verse of Zachor Es Hayom Hazeh for the purpose of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. Why do the Mechilta and Rashi derive the obligation from a different source than the Rambam? After all, the Mishna (Berachos 12b)  that discusses the argument between Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azariah and the Chachamim regarding the interpretation of the verse of Lmaan Tizkor, where Rabbi Eliezer and Ben Zoma derive that we must mention Yetzias Mitzrayim by day and by night, appears to agree with the Rambam. Apparently Rashi and the Mechilta were of the opinion that the verse of Lmaan Tizkor is explanatory and not obligatory, that it explains the frequency with which the Mitzvah of Zachor Es Hayom Hazeh is to be fulfilled.

The Rambam derived the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim from the same source as the Mechilta Drabbi Shimon Bar Yochai . This Mechilta and the Rambam both refer to two obligations: that of Vhigadta bincha, and you will relate the stories of the exodus to your son, whether or not he asks you. This is  the obligation to teach all children according to their capabilities.  Zachor Es Hayom Hazeh  teaches us that even an individual must relate the stories of the exodus Bayno Lbayn Atzmo. Though the Rambam and Mechilta differ in the order in which they quote the verses, they agree that the main obligation to retell the stories of the Exodus on this night derives from Zachor Es Hayom Haze and is supplemented with the verse of Vhigadta Lbincha.
The Rav asked where do we find that the word Zachor means Sippur?
Apparently this question bothered the Rambam as well.  The words "like it says by Shabbat Zachor Es Yom Hashabbat Lkadsho" do not appear in the Mechilta: the Rambam added these on his own because he wanted to show how one finds the semantics of Sippur in the word Zachor. Rashi (Chumash) says that the word Zachor is to be translated as constant engagement in the act of remembering. One is obligated to constantly think about Shabbat, to anticipate it with great yearning. Rashi quotes the famous opinion of Beis Shamai that one should always put aside the best things for Shabbat.  There is a constant obligation to think about Shabbat. The Ramban agrees with Rashi, and says that based on this obligation to always think of Shabbat, we refer to the days of the week as numbers relative to Shabbat (Mechilta).  The Ramban asks what is the connection between Kiddush on Shabbat and Zachor Es Yom Hashabbat Lkadsho? The Ramban explains that the Mitzvah of Kiddush on Shabbat is the Peulas or Maaseh Mitzvah, the tangible action relative to the Mitzvah. The Kiyum Hamitzvah, the complete fulfillment of the Mitzvah, is accomplished when one has spent the previous week in anticipation of Shabbat and culminates his anticipation with Kiddush. Another example of the distinction between the Kiyum Hamitzvah and the Maaseh Hamitzvah is in prayer. There is a constant obligation to pray which is the Kiyum Blev, yet the Maaseh Hamitzvah occurs when one prays 3 times daily. Another example is the obligation to constantly maintain the yoke of heaven, Ol Malchus Shamayim, however the Maaseh Hamitzvah happens twice daily with the recitation of Krias Shema. [The Rav explained that Shamor is interpreted in the same way: there is an obligation on Shabbat to constantly think about refraining from work and forbidden acts (the Kiyum Blev) in order that you should perform the Maaseh Mitzvah of Shevisa.]

The Rambam says that the example of Zachor Es Yom Hashabbat teaches me to interpret the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim as requiring one to experience the events of the exodus. Bechal Dor Vador means that in each generation each person must view himself as if he himself has just left Egypt with Moshe this moment. There is a Peulas
Mitzvah on this night to relate the stories of the exodus, but there also is a Kiyum Mitzvah Blev, internal fulfillment of the obligation, to view ourselves as exiting Egypt this very moment. There is a vast difference between one who experiences the event first hand and one who retells a story second hand.  Just like there is an Kiyum Blev to remember Shabbat all week that becomes tangible on Shabbat through Kiddush, on the night of Pesach there is an internal fulfillment to relive the exodus that becomes tangible through the recitation of the Haggadah.

We express the obligation to relive the events of the exodus at various points of the Haggadah. We relate to the exodus personally at the beginning of Maggid when we say that had Hashem not taken us out of Egypt we would have remained enslaved to Paroh. However at the conclusion of Maggid we say Lefikach, therefore we are obligated to praise Hashem, and we begin to recite Hallel. We could not recite Hallel at the start of Maggid because we have not yet relived the experiences of the exodus. In order to recite Hallel one must experience the miracles first hand. Only after we have related the stories and have come to view ourselves as participants in the great exodus from slavery can we recite Hallel. We recite the blessing of Asher Gealanu Vgaal Es Avosaynu at the conclusion of Maggid when we have become participants in the exodus. Only then have we attained Zachor, to experience it completely.
We now understand an enigmatic statement in the Haggadah, Yachol Marosh Chodesh etc. Why would I possibly think that the obligation to relive the experiences of the exodus should begin on Rosh Chodesh?  After all, the Torah says Vhigadta Lbincha Bayom Hahu, and you shall relate to your son on that day,  the 15th of Nissan, there is no written obligation to retell the story any earlier. However, based on the comparison of the obligation to retell the story on the night of Pesach to the Mitzvah of Zachor by Shabbat, we can understand this statement.
Since there is a Kiyum Hamitzvah on Shabbat to begin thinking about Shabbat on the first day of the week, perhaps the same obligation exists to begin thinking about the special night of Pesach earlier, from the beginning of the month. The Beraysa then says that even if we do not start at the beginning of the month, perhaps we should begin involving ourselves in at least a Kiyum Blev of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim on the fourteenth day of Nissan? The Haggadah tells us that Pesach is different than Shabbat in this regard, that we begin thinking about Pesach, the Kiyum Blev, the same time that we perform the Peulas Hamitzvah. Only when we have Pesach, Matzah and Maror in front of us, on the night of Pesach itself.

 יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הַיָּמִים. כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הַלֵּילוֹת. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ לְהָבִיא לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ:

33. בָּרוּךְ
  The evening will be an evening of learning, parents are bidden to introduce the children into a learning community, therefore here at the outset a quasi bircat hatorah will be made, in order to formalize the learning aspect of the evening. Learning takes many different form including Torah Shbichtav and Torah She Bal Peh. The learning by the seder will take both forms. We specifically see the Torah shbal peh aspect regarding the section of the Arami Oved Ovi where the Mishna specify said that we are DORESH the entire section. The term DORESH is a catch phrase indicating the process of Torah She Bal Peh. Similarly every morning after making the bircat hatorah we learn from the written Torah, and the oral torah, we then read the Baraita of Rebbi Yishmael which teaches how to link the two. [This may explain the drashot used by the various sages to show how many makot were used (50,200,250) in order to utilize the drasha. ADK]

The Rambam says (Hilchos Chametz Umatzah 7:1) that one is obligated to retell the miracles and wonders God performed for our ancestors on the night of the fifteenth.  Later (7:4) the Rambam says that we must begin with the stories of  the humble situation (Genus) of the people and to conclude with the recitation of praise (Shevach).  We must expound on (Doresh) the entire section of Arami Oved Avi. Later (7:5) the Rambam says that whoever does not recite Pesach, Matzah and Maror on this night has not fulfilled his obligation. The Rambam then continues with the rest of the stories of the evening and says that these things are called Haggadah. Why does the Rambam introduce the term Haggadah to describe this complete process? Why not simply say that these segments, in total, comprise the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim?
[The Rav noted that the Gemara that introduced the term Haggadah, so the same question applies to the Gemara].

The Mishna in Pesachim notes that Arami Oved Avi is the central part of the Haggadah. One must expound on this entire section of the Torah and he who expends more effort to explain it is more highly praised. What is so special about this Parsha? Why didn't Chazal choose to examine the sections from Sefer Shemos that discuss the actual exodus itself? Apparently, Chazal felt that the theme of  the Parsha of Arami Oved Avi is an expression of thanks to Hashem for taking us out of Egypt. We choose that Parsha over those in Shemos because in that passage it says that we must proclaim on this day, Higadti Hayom, praise and thanks to Hashem for taking us out of Egypt. Not only is recitation of  this praise to Hashem, starting with the stimulus for descending to the depths of slavery in Egypt concluding with the exodus, appropriate on the day that one brings the first fruit to Jersualem, but it is just as appropriate on the night of  Pesach.

Why do the Gemara and the Rambam use the terms Vdoresh and Maarich Bdrash? Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim can only be fulfilled through the learning of both Torah Shbichtav and Torah Shbeal Peh. Doresh refers to Torah Shbeal Peh, to underscore that it is insufficient to simply read the Parsha as written in the Torah without interpreting and expounding on it with the Oral Law. The Rambam says that the father is obligated to teach his son according to the capabilities of the child. It does not say that the father has to tell him the story according to the capabilities of the son, because the obligation on this night is to teach Torah, both written and oral, to the child.

The Hagaos Maimoni, at the end of Hilchos Chametz and Matzah quotes the Tosefta that one is obligated to immerse himself (Laasok), whether he is with a group or alone, in the laws of Pesach on this night. The Tosefta quotes the story of Rabban Gamliel and the sages in the home of Bytis Ben Zunin that were involved in the laws of Pesach the entire night until the morning.  This is very similar to the story in our Haggadah of the sages in Bnay Brak, with the exception that the Tosefta uses the term Oskin (occupied) Bhilchos Hapesach while our Haggada says they were Mesaprim (retelling the stories of) Byetzias Mitzrayim the entire night. Both episodes with the Chachamim involved the learning of Torah Shbichtav in a framework of Torah Shbeal Peh. Both refer to the answer that we give to the wise son on this evening who asks "what are the laws that Hashem has commanded us"? He is interested in learning all of Torah as stated in Parshas Vaeschanan, and his questions are not limited to the laws of Korban Pesach. We teach him about everything that happened to us in a framework of Talmud Torah and answer him through both the written and oral law. According to the Vilna Gaon the Mitzvas Talmud Torah on this evening includes teaching the wise son all the Mitzvos and laws of Pesach, concluding with the last Mitzvah of Afikomen.

Both the wise and wicked sons ask "Mah"? The difference between them is in the interpretation of this one-word question. The wicked son asks "what for", why are you bothering with these Mitzvos. The wise son asks "what are they". We must teach each child according to his capability, Chanoch Lanaar Al Pi Darko. The wise son is capable of much more than the others. The Ramban says that the obligation is to teach him all the Mitzvos, beginning with the 10 Commandments [since the question of the wise son appears in Parshas Vaeschanan preceding the Asseres Hadibros] concluding with the rest of the Mitzvos of Pesach night. The obligation of Vhigadta Lbincha all year expresses itself in the obligation to teach him Torah. On the night of Pesach it is augmented to also include the Mitzvas Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim as part of the obligation to teach the wise son Hilchos Pesach.

See below

34. הַמָּקוֹם
 Generally when the Haggadah refers to God it is as HKB'H. There are 2 places where God is referred to as Hamakom: prior to the 4 sons and when Yehohua is quoted (וְעַכְשָׁיו קֵרְבָנוּ הַמָּקוֹם לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ). Why are these 2 places singled out? Furthermore, what is the connection between the discussion of the various Tanaim in Bnei Brak and the 4 sons and the Parsha from Yehoshua?
Insight in different perspectives by two of the great prophets Yeshayahu, and Yechezkel will shed light on the term “Makom”.
Yeshayahu was given prophecy during a time when the temple stood in glory, when the shechina was palpable, where there was no hint yet of Galus and Churban. He was familiar with God. Yeshayahu describes God as Kadosh. On the other hand Yechezkel prophesized from the displaced persons camp; in exile. Therefore his prophesy is richer and more descriptive – because of his distance and unfamiliarity with Kedusha. Yechezkel uses the term Makom. When the Gemara discusses the difference between the prophecy of Yeshayahu and Yechezkel. The Gemara brings an analogy between a city dweller who sees the king all the time and the village dweller who describes the king in full detail to those who have never seen him. The prophecies of Yeshayahu and Yechezkel are derived from their different perspectives.
When Yishayahu lived with the temple standing, God was more accessible; it was easier for the people to repent. God was as it were readily visible through the Beit Hamikdash where the Avodah was K'tekunah and Kohanim B'avodasam and Leviim B'duchanam. It was apparent that God was there and Kadosh.
Yechezkel on the other hand was given prophecy after the first stages of Churban had occurred.  It was a time of Hester Panim – perceived withdrawal from the persective of the Jewish people, God was no longer were no longer close. Under exile conditions it was very hard to see the immediacy of God. In such a case the term Mimkamo (from His place) wherever God may be found, is used. In times of mourning when we console the mourners we use the term Hamakom Ynachem Eschem.  There is no greater Hester Panim; sense of distance, than in time of tragedy. It is difficult to see and feel God under such circumstances where one feels so distant from HKB'H. We therefore use the word Hamakom, as Yechezkel did.
When Avraham entered the covenant with God, he was promised the Torah and the Land of Israel through the difficult process of a 400 year exile in a foreign land. Under optimal circumstances we could have expected that these things would have been given to Avraham in an easy to achieve way, without pain, suffering and tribulations.  Yet Avraham entered the covenant through a dark fear. God was showing that there will be a distance, a Hester Panim, which was to begin at that time and would not be broken untill the redemtion and liberation from Egypt.  That is why we refer to God as Hamakom when we describe our forefathers and their selection. For from the time  of Bris Bayn Habesarim, there was an element of distance, therefore God is referred to as Hamakom. However at the time of the redemption from Egypt, it says that HKB'H Chishaves Hakaytz, the 400 years were reduced, and the pain of exil was coming to an end, now closeness to God could be felt, now the term  of Hamakom, was no longer appropriate..
We find the term Hamakom is regarding the giving of the Torah, Baruch Hamakom Baruch Hu. This teaches us that the Torah was given to us through suffering, and great difficulties that were associated with keeping the various Mitzvos throughout the ages.  If the name "HKB'H" would have been associated with the granting of the Torah, we would have enjoyed a more sanguine and protected life as a nation. However our destiny is that we have to search for God, as Hamakom, wherever we may be, both in our daily lives as well as in our search for Torah knowledge.

35. בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבָּעָה בָנִים דִּבְּרָה תוֹרָה
The message of the section dealing with the four sons is that on Pesach the father is obliged to teach his child, even if the child is disaffected or disinterested. Each child must be taught in line with their capabilities - even if it takes all night to get the message across.

36. אֶחָד חָכָם. וְאֶחָד רָשָׁע.  וְאֶחָד תָּם. וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל:
          These 4 children are actually 2 pair. The Chacham is a bright, capable child. He is full of potential, but he has not yet accumulated vast amounts of knowledge. The Tam is the contrast of the Chacham. He is the dull son. The Mechilta uses the word Tipesh (dull, sluggish) instead of Tam.

The second pair is the Rasha and Sh'ayno Yodea Lishol. The Rasha is the rebellious son. The Sh'ayno Yodea Lishol is the unconcerned son. He may be very bright, but he is simply not interested. On the other hand, the Tam is interested, according to his simple level.

The upshot of this paragraph is that each child and person has a share in the Torah. I must be prepared to teach each of these children according to his capabilities. We teach a child with great capabilities Gemara. Teach him Hilchos HaPesach, all the laws of Pesach. The Vilna Gaon interprets Ad Ayn Maftirin Achar HaPesach Afikomen, all the Mishnayos, Gemara and Laws through the concluding laws of Afikomen.

The synopsis of the answer the Torah gives to the Chacham is that the purpose of Yetzias Mitzrayim was not simply to grant us our freedom from slavery to Pharaoh. Rather it was the receipt of the Torah at Sinai and Bchiras Yisrael. The Chinuch interprets the verse Vzeh Lcha Haos, as this is the purpose, when you leave Egypt, to worship the Lord on this mountain via Kabalas HaTorah. Moshe was hesitant to go to Egypt. He felt that the role of messenger was to negotiate with Pharaoh for the release of the Jews and he was poorly qualified as an orator. Hashem explained to Moshe that the purpose of going to Egypt is not for Moshe to negotiate their political freedom. Hashem alone will take the Jews out of Egypt. However the purpose of the exodus is to turn the people into a holy nation, Mamleches Kohanim V'Goy Kadosh, via the Torah. For that to happen they need a teacher.
Hashem told Moshe that as a teacher, there was no one more capable than him.
The Baal Hagadah tells us not to focus on the story of the exodus. Rather we should concentrate on teaching him that which makes us unique, the true reason why were redeemed from Egypt: all the laws
up till and including the laws of Afikomen.
The Tam is incapable of comprehending what we answer the Chacham. The Baal Hagadah tells us that
we must teach the Tam according to his comprehension ability. If he is limited to understanding the simple answer of "Hashem took us out of Egypt with a mighty hand", that is sufficient.

Who attains the greater reward: the father who teaches the brilliant son capable of comprehending all of Gemara and associated laws, or the father who teaches the dull son, capable of understanding only a verse in Chumash? The Rav suggested that the father of the dull son, in his opinion, deserves the greater reward. Baruch Shenasan Torah L'Amo Yisrael. Am means the average person, the masses. The masses of "Tam" have their share in the Torah.

Sh'ayno Yodea Lishol lacks curiosity. A good teacher is capable of arousing interest and stimulating curiosity. Instilling interest in Torah is also a fulfillment of Talmud Torah. Our obligation on this night is to stimulate that curiosity and love of Torah. [The Bach says that the blessing of Laasok B'Divrei Torah should have been Lilmod Divrei Torah, to study it. However, had the obligation been to study Torah, the great scholar would have the advantage over the ignorant person. The obligation is not only to study, but to support and be committed to Torah, to show love of Torah in many ways.]

The Baal Hagadah tells us not to ignore the Rasha. [One time, a Brisk yeshiva boy,  who had become a Communist,  was  accused in an assassination plot against a Russian general.   Reb Chaim went to great lengths,  pulled  strings,  and had the whole
congregation be  mechalel Yom  Kippur to bring  money to  shul so they could  pay a  bribe and  free the  boy.   Another  time,  an apostate,  a convert,  who had remained close to the Jews,  died, and many people wanted to send his family a telegram of sympathy. To this, Reb Chaim said NO!   While the yeshiva boy may have been a bad Jew, he remained a Jew, and was worth saving.   This other fellow was a meshumad, and was not worthy. [Apparently even the Rasha sits around our table, and we are still obligated to teach, only a traitor who joins a different religion is expelled. ADK]

 We are told Hak'he Es Shinav, to dull his teeth (the Rav said that some Hagadas spell it as Ha'kay, to knock out his teeth, this was not advisable, especially on the night of Pesach!) We must engage him in dialogue, to refute his arguments, convince him that he is wrong and ultimately, over time, bring him back to Judaism. There are two versions of the question of the Rasha, "what is the nature of this work to you, Lachem V'Lo Lo, and because he excluded himself etc". The second version omits Lachem V'Lo Lo. The Rasha excluded himself from the Jewish destiny and belief in that destiny. The Rambam calls such a person Poresh M'Darkei Tzibbur. Such a person does not participate in the triumphs or tragedies of the Jewish People. Another kind of Rasha is one who removes himself from the community and the observance of Jewish law and tradition. A Jew alone, outside of the Jewish community is a tragic figure. [The Rav noted that he would never get angry with an agnostic person who was raised without Torah and observance. Ha had pity for one who never experienced surrender to God and His will.] This is the argument to the Rasha. Modern man is a slave to society, he is intoxicated with the drive to accumulate wealth. Some are slaves to the will of other people. Others are slaves to medical phobias, such as cancer or stroke/paralysis. Avadim Hayinu L'Paroh, everyone is a slave to something. Faith in Hashem is the redemption from that slavery. The re-education of the Rasha to recognize and return to Hashem is also Talmud Torah.
We start with Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu and switch to Baruch HaMakom and eventually we change back to Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu. One who leads a holy life is close to Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu. If he alienated himself, then he is very distant from Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu. One of the four sons is very distant from Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu. But Hashem wants to bring him back. Hashem never deserts anyone, there is always potential to return, from wherever, any Makom, the Rasha may find himself. Makom connotes that Hashem fills all space, He is right beside everyone, even the Rasha, waiting to take him back. The Torah was given to all, scholar, dullard, and wicked/estranged. Hashem wants all to come closer to Kedusha, to elevate from Makom to Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu.
The Baal Hagadah tells us that our ancestor, Terach, was an idolater, Vachshav Kervanu HaMakom L'Avodaso. Even though Terach was so far from Hashem, Hashem never abandoned us. He brought us back, through Abraham. At that point in the Hagadah we change His name back to Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu.

חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר. מָה הָעֵדוֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם. וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמוֹר לוֹ
36b     The Rav considered Pesach as the most "Lomdish" (requiring the highest level of Torah learning acumen) of the festivals. One must be fluent in the various parts of the Shulchan Aruch to prepare for Pesach.  One must understand the intricacies of Choshen Mishpat to know how to write a proper document for the sale of the Chametz. (Shtar Mechiras Chometz is among the more difficult documents to understand and prepare.) Choshen Mishpat is also needed to understand the rules of Bal Yaraeh and Bal Yimatzay and how they relate to the definitions of possession and financial responsibility and obligations regarding personal Chametz.  One must be fluent in Yoreh Deah to handle questions of Issur V'heter regarding Chametz B'Mashehu, Taaruvas Chametz, Hagalas Kaylim (Chametz/non-Chametz mixtures, purification of vessels that were used with Chametz for use on Pesach). And of course Orach Chayim describes the general laws of Pesach. Yet when we discuss the Halachos of pesach with the Ben Chacham at the seder, we concentrate on telling him the Halachos of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim

כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח
          The Goal of leaving Egypt was the receipt of the Torah on Har Sinai, leaving Egypt culminates in learning Torah, this is part of the implied answer to the Wise son.
שמות פרק ג
(יא) וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים מִי אָנֹכִי כִּי אֵלֵךְ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וְכִי אוֹצִיא אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם:
(יב) וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ וְזֶה לְּךָ הָאוֹת כִּי אָנֹכִי שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ בְּהוֹצִיאֲךָ אֶת הָעָם מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּעַבְדוּן אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה:

According to the Ramban (Vayikra 23:36) the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot are interrelated and intertwined, the sefira links the holidays, and shavuot is called Atzeret which implies the same relationship which exists between Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret exists between Pesach and Atzeret. Moreover the goal was not merely to geographically be moved from one locale to another. The liberation from Egypt required receiving the Torah at Sinai.
משנה מסכת אבות פרק ו משנה ב
שאין לך בן חורין אלא מי שעוסק בתלמוד תורה

אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן:
          The Rav perferes the reading of the Vilna Gaon including the word AD עד אין  which implies that one teaches him all the Laws of Pesach, until the very last Mishna in the Tractate.

          The answer given to this question in the Torah is different from the answer offered in the Haggadah, there the answer is Avadim hayinu. In the Torah only one child being discussed, the Wise Son.  The Torah gives him the complete answer to his question, the Avadim Hayinu which encapsulates the story of the exodus and the obligation to teach him all the laws we were given. However at the Seder, all 4 sons are represented and must be told the story of the exodus.
In the Haggadah, with all four sons present the response given to the Ben Chacham, needs to sharply articulate the uniqueness of the wise son, this is accomplished by entering a dialogue concerning the Laws of Pesach, and intricate curriculum designed only for the advanced student. Even though the general discussion will return to issues which should concern all the sons. However the main thrust of the educational experience on this night is the wise son. Repetitive?

רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר. מָה הָעֲבוֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם. לָכֶם וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִׁנָּיו וֶאֱמוֹר לוֹ. בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה י-ה-ו-ה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם. לִי וְלֹא לוֹ. אִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל:
תָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר. מַה זֹּאת. וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּחוֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ י-ה-ו-ה מִמִּצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:
וְשֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל אַתְּ פְּתַח לוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה י-ה-ו-ה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם: יָכוֹל
The Haggadah should be punctuated as follows. The Sh'ayno
Yodeah Lishol is provided the statement of V'higadta Lbincha etc. Stop. Then the Haggadah continues: when is this statement to be made? Perhaps the obligation begins on Rosh Chodesh? The answer is Bayom Hahu, on that day. You might have thought that the obligation begins during the day period of Erev Pesach? The answer is the obligation begins at the time that Matzah and Marror is placed before you (at night). Since we know that Matzah (and Marror) have 2 components to the obligation, the first Baerev Tochlu Matzos and the second a Kiyum in Sippur Y'tzias Mitzrayim, and since we know that the Ikar Hamitzva must take place at night, then the second Kiyum of Matzah together with Vhigadta Lbincha must take place at night as well. After all, it would not make sense if the Kiyum Sippur Y'tzias Mitzrayim could take place on Erev Pesach, before the Ikar Hamitzvah of Baerev Tochlu Matzos is applicable.
Too concise? -
The Rov suggested that the paragraph יָכוֹל מֵרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ modifies the וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם and should therefore be punctuated accordingly as one paragraph

 מֵרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ
The Yerushalmi (Pesachim 59a) says that one may not eat Matzah on Erev
Pesach and it is considered as if one had relations with one’s betrothed in her father’s house. The analogy seems strange. A number of authorities point out that just as a bride requires seven brachot so does the Matzah, if this is the case how can one eat Matzah all year round? The answer is that Matzah becomes Matzah when Chamaetz becomes Chamets. Halachically Chametz is not Chamets all year long, only on Erev Pesach (technically if chametz fell in a mixture during the year it would become negligible, only on Pesach does chamets become chamets and no longer can be negated. At the same time that Chametz becomes chamets, Matzah becomes Matazh and now needs seven brachot just as a bride. (Shiur date: 3/18/75 Nordlicht tape. #5186)

תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא. אִי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יָכוֹל מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם, תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה. בַּעֲבוּר זֶה לֹא אָמַרְתִּי אֶלָּא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיֵשׁ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר מֻנָּחִים לְפָנֶיךָ:
The Haggadah says that Baavur Zeh teaches me that there is an obligation to study the Haggadah when (Pesach) Matzah and Maror are placed before you. According to Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azaryah, does the obligation for Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim conclude at Chatzos, when the Mitzvas Pesach and Matzah conclude, or is it the same as all other Mitzvos whose obligation begins at nightfall, and extends all night? Some Rishonim are of the opinion that indeed, the obligation for Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim extends throughout the night. According to Tosfos (Megilla 21a, a Diyuk in D'H Laasuyei) and the Ran, the obligation of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim concludes at Chatzos. A strong proof to the opinion that Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim extends throughout the night is the story that we relate in our Haggadah of the great Rabbis that were assembled in Bnay Brak and were Mesaper Byetzias Mitzrayim the entire night. Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azaryah (according to many opinions, though not Tosfos) was among this group. Some Rishonim say that based on this episode in Bnay Brak, that Rabbi Eliezer's position is that Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim extends to the entire night.

The Mechilta says in the name of Rabbi Eliezer that a group of Talmidei Chachamim is obligated to discuss Hilchos Pesach [only] till Chatzos based on the verse Mah Haaydos Vhachukim etc. The Ritva (in a Haggadah published in Warsaw in 1878) says that according to Rabbi Eliezer the obligation for Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim concludes at Chatzos. However the Ritva mentions that our Haggadah, which mentions that Rabbi Eliezer participated with the other great scholars all evening, appears to contradict this.

The Rav explained that there are 2 different kinds of Sippur Yestzias
Mitzrayim. The first is the Midrashim of Arami Oved Avi and relating  the miracles that occurred in Egypt on our behalf. The other Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim is through the answer we give the wise child as part of teaching him the laws of Pesach. According to Rabbi Eliezer, Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim that relates to expounding the Parshas Arami Oved Avi, is no different than all other Mitzvos that are performed at night and may therefore be extended throughout the night. The Drasha of Bshaah Sheyesh Matzah Umaror Munachim Lfanecha excludes Erev Pesach. Since the obligation for Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim begins at nightfall, it is no different than other Mitzvos that are performed at night, and may continue throughout the night. However teaching the laws of Pesach, the laws that are specific to this night of Korban Pesach and Matzah, extends only during the period that the Pesach itself may be eaten, and according to Rabbi Eliezer concludes with Chatzos.

Therefore our Haggadah that includes Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azaryah in the
group that were Mesaprim Byetzias Mitzrayim Kol Halayla is referring to the stories and drasha of Arami Oved Avi. Rabbi Eliezer agrees that this type of Sippur can continue all night. However the Mechilta that quotes Rabbi Eliezer as restricting the discussion of Hilchos Hapesach to Chatzos [the same period that the Korban Pesach may be eaten] is referring to the second type of Sippur, that of studying the laws. The study of the laws of Korban Pesach one minute after Chatzos, according to Rabbi Eliezer, no longer retains this second aspect of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. It is no different than studying any portion of Torah, for example the laws of Yibum and Chalitzah.

מִתְּחִלָּה עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה הָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְעַכְשָׁיו קֵרְבָנוּ הַמָּקוֹם לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ.

שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ
          [The Torah says that Moshe charged Yehoshua with the responsibility of selecting an army to battle with Amalek. The Ramban comments that even though the Torah says in Parshas Shlach that Moshe called Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua, this name change occurred previously, at the time that Yehoshua came to be Moshe's devoted student. When Yehoshua came to Moshe and he realized the potential of his student, he changed his name by adding the letter Yud. The Midrash that says that the Yud represented the prayer that Hashem should save Joshua from the evil plans of the spies. From their earliest association Moshe realized that Yehoshua would be among those that would be sent to spy on the land and he added the letter Yud to his name so that Hashem would save him from being ensnared by the terrible plans of the spies.]
The Rav explained the importance of the name change from Hoshea to Yehoshua.
The Midrash says that when Hashem changed Avram's and Sary's names by removing the Yud from Sary and replacing it with a Hay and adding a Hay to Avraham, the Yud complained. Hashem consoled the Yud by promising that it would be added to the name of another great personality Hoshea, changing his name to Yehoshua. The Rav noted that this was an amazing Midrash and explained it as follows.

The change in name for Avram represented a major change in the personality of Avram. The Mishna in Bikurim states that a convert may bring Bikurim and state the word Avoseinu because Avraham was Av Hamon Goyim, the father of the multitude of nations. For this reason a convert may daven Shemoneh Esray and say Elokeinu Valokay Avoseinu.  The Rambam points out (Hilchos Avoda Zarah)
that Avraham had a major impact on the people of his generation, having converted tens of thousands to recognize the One Creator of the universe. The letter Hay was added to represent Avraham as the externally visible and accessible spiritual father to all. He was not someone who was capableof remaining hidden inside his tent. The Hay represents an openness, the Pesach Haohel, the door of the tent, where Avraham always sat, always seeking out people to help and bring them closer to the Shechina. The Hay symbolizes Hispashtus, a willingness to extend oneself to all. Simply put Avraham was a leader who epitomized Chesed, as such he was always available to his people.
The letter Yud on the other hand represents the possessive form (my chair kisie, my house baysie). It shows the private, hidden part of the person who separates himself from the public. He separates himself because he wants to associate himself completely with Hashem, to the exclusion of all others. It is the Midas Hagevurah, Midas Hatzimtzum of minimizing accessibility.
There are 2 distinct dimensions to a leader: his public and private personalities. On the one hand, the leader must exemplify Chesed to all, and be front and center before the people and sharing in their spiritual and daily experiences. We find that by Krias Yam Suf Moshe and Bnay Yisrael sang praise to Hashem. Also by Mattan Torah, Moshe took the people out towards Hashem because he also wanted to be part of the spiritual experience of Kabbalas Hatorah at Har Sinai. In these cases Moshe was the public leader who stood before the people and was their teacher, leader and guide who participated in their experiences as a people.
On the other hand, a leader must possess the attribute of Gevurah, Tzimtzum, to separate himself from others in order that he might excel in his personal relationship with Hashem. Again we find that Moshe would set up the Ohel Moed outside of the camp of the people as a place where he could communicate with Hashem, away from all others. He could not be in the public eye at all times. There is a time and place for both.
These attributes are seen in Gedolei Yisrael. In some cases, a Gadol may excel in one over the other. The Rav related that he heard from his father who received a tradition from his father that the Vilna Gaon did not say formal shiurim. For the year after the passing of his mother he said shiurim in Mishnayos Zeraim and Taharos, however few if any were capable of keeping up with his brilliance and intellect.  The students who heard these shiurim collected them as Shenos Eliahu on Zeraim and Eliahu Rabbah on Taharos. People think of Reb Chaim Volozhin as the Talmid of the Gaon. In reality Reb Chaim's access to the Gaon was that he would assemble questions for the Gaon and twice a year he would present them to the Gaon for a couple of hours at a time. Otherwise the Gaon was completely occupied with his own studying. The Gaon represented the Yud that symbolizes the Midas Hatzimtzum. On the other hand, the Baal Shem Tov represented the Midas Hachesed as the publicly available leader, personifying the Hay of Hispashtus.
Yehoshua already possessed the critical dimension of a leader, the Hay of Hispashtus, he was a man of the people. His personal predilection was towards the Midas Hachesed. Moshe recognized this and wanted to add the Midas Hatzimtzum to him as well. There is a time and place for both attributes in a leader. Therefore the  Yud was added to the Hay that was already part of his name. The benefit of this addition to Yehoshua's personality was evident after the episode of the Meraglim. Without the reenforcement of the Midas Hagevurah, Yehoshua's strong sense of being a man of the people might have led him to be engulfed by their evil plan. The Yud symbolized his newly found inner strength to withdraw from the group and to be firm and true in his convictions that Bnay Yisrael could and would conquer Eretz Canaan with the help of Hashem.

אֶל כָּל הָעָם כֹּה אָמַר י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים:
וָאֶקַּח אֶת אֲבִיכֶם אֶת אַבְרָהָם מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וָאוֹלֵךְ אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וָאַרְבֶּה אֶת זַרְעוֹ וָאֶתֵּן לוֹ אֶת יִצְחָק, וָאֶתֵּן לְיִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת עֵשָׂו, וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת הַר שֵׂעִיר לָרֶשֶׁת אוֹתוֹ, וְיַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו יָרְדוּ מִצְרָיִם:
בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵר הַבְטָחָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חִשַּׁב אֶת הַקֵּץ לַעֲשֹוֹת. כְּמָה שֶׁאָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בִּבְרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים.
The Brit bein habitarim had a certain amount of fluidity to it. For it contained apparently contradictory information 4 generations and 400 years…..

 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה. וְגַם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכוּשׁ גָּדוֹל:
מכסה המצה ומגביה את הכוס בידו ואומר:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ. שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם:

45. Vehee Sheamda
Why do we mention at the Seder that in every generation there are people who seek to destroy the Jewish people?  What does this have to do with Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim, telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt?  The Rav explains that it places the Egyptian experience into perspective.  We might have sought to explore whether there was some sociologic, economic, or political motivation for the Egyptians oppressors.  However, we note that in every generation and in every imaginable circumstance, enemies have arisen to oppress us.  Thus, we cannot attribute any particular set of circumstance as the trigger for hatred of Jews.  We must conclude that the reason for the Egyptian oppression is the sad reality that Rashi quotes in his commentary to Breishit 33:4 that it is the way of the world that Esav hates Yaakov.  The implications for the contemporary situation are painfully obvious. rcj rhs mph

מניח הכוס מידו ויגלה המצות:
צֵא וּלְמַד מַה בִּקֵּשׁ לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי לַעֲשֹוֹת לְיַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ. שֶׁפַּרְעֹה לֹא גָזַר אֶלָּא עַל הַזְּכָרִים וְלָבָן בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲקוֹר אֶת הַכֹּל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:

אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי
The choice of the Arami Oved Avi which serves as a basis for almost the entire MAGID in the Haggadah at all seems perplexing. The text itself is a text which was read when the first fruits were brought to Jerusalem, why is this text included in the Haggadah? Apparently the function of the Arami Oved Avi in the Haggada is quite different from the section in the rites of the first fruits. There the very reading is  the obligation, it was a formal text which had to be said precisely. On Pesach, the Arami Oved Avi serves as the catalyst for the learning and the Drashot which will be said as a fulfillment of learning.

Why were the sections based on the explanation of Arami Oved Avi selected to form the core of the Haggadah? If the main purpose is to tell the story of the exodus, why don't we simply read the sections in the Torah from Parshas Shmos through Parshas Bo which tell the story of the exodus in detail? After all the Haggadah does not really contain extensive stories of the exodus. Our Maggid is barely a synopsis of the events of the exodus. Indeed, the Karaites would read the stories from the Torah on the night of Pesach as their "Haggadah". Why select a portion from Sefer Dvarim instead of a section from Sefer Shmos as the central part of Maggid?
The Rav explained: Arami Oved Avi is related to the Mitzvah of Bikurim (bringing the first fruits to the temple). There were 2 Mitzvos associated with Bikurim: 1) the actual bringing of the Bikurim; 2) the recitation of the Parsha of Arami Oved Avi. Apparently, Chazal felt that there was a common denominator between Bikurim and Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim.
The Rambam and the Chinuch explain that the main theme behind Mikra Bikurim is to express gratitude, Hakaras Hatov, to Hashem who gave us the gift of the land. Hakaras Hatov is also the central theme of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, as we recite Lfikach Anachnu Chayavim Lhodos (therefore we are obligated to thank Hashem...). In order to express thanks to Hashem for all the miracles that He performed for us, we have to tell the story of the exodus. The gift of the land was the fulfillment of the fifth form of Geulah (redemption), V'hayvaysi (and I will usher you in to the land). The Jew is obligated to thank Hashem not only for the fulfillment of the fifth form of Geulah, but for the other 4 as well, Vhotzaysi (and I will take you out of Egypt), Hhitzalti (and I will rescue you), Vgoalti (and I will redeem you), Vlokachti (and I will take you unto me as a nation), which refer to the events of the exodus.
The obligation to thank Hashem as part of Mikra Bikurim is equated with the obligation to thank Hashem for the exodus on the night of Pesach. If the Torah formulated the Parsha of Arami Oved Avi as the proper format to express gratitude to Hashem for the exodus and the gift of the land, then the Parsha must be recited in both cases, on the night of Pesach and upon bringing Bikurim. However, there is a difference in emphasis between the 2 recitations. For Mikra Bikurim, we stress the aspect of having been brought into the land and receiving it as a gift, while for Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, we focus on the aspects surrounding our enslavement and redemption from Egypt.
On the night of Pesach we are not all that interested in the details of the exodus and the events that led up to it. For instance, we don't devote much text and time to the suffering of the Jews in Egypt, or to the plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians. Arami Oved Avi serves the purpose of thanking Hashem for our freedom and the ultimate gift of Eretz Yisrael. The focus of the evening is thanks to Hashem as expressed through the Mitzvah of Vhigadta Lvincha, and you shall teach your child. Would not additional details of the story inspire me to thank Hashem even more? The answer is that the Torah was not as interested in the telling of he story as much as in the study of the story. Otherwise, we would have read the early chapters of Sefer Shmos which give all the details of the bondage and exodus of the people.
There is a difference between narrating a story and studying a story. Narration relates past events. However when I study past events, I appreciate the significance of these events and their impact on me. A good study of history does not include every last detail. Rather, Lhavdil, the historian tries to capture that which is important outside of the context of time and space. This approach keeps the events alive for us today. That is why we spend very little time describing the plagues. Our focus is on the greatness of Hashem, who took us out of Egypt. We are interested in the moral motives of the exodus that are still with us today.
Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim simply put is a Mitzvah of Torah study. We are obligated to study not only the events of the exodus, but the laws of the festival as well. The Tosefta quotes a slightly different version of the story in Haggadah of the sages that were gathered in Bnay Brak and were involved all night in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. The Tosefta states that they were studying the laws of Pesach that night. The study of this night requires us to immerse ourselves in Torah Shbeal Peh, to examine and interpret each and every word of Arami Oved Avi. This Parsha is examined not as an abstract event in the past but as something that impacts us here and now. With this approach we can understand many aspects of the structure of the Haggadah. For example, why do we introduce many of the sections with questions, e.g. Matzah Zu? Because Talmud Torah is conducted through a process of question and answer.
The Rambam says that anyone who devotes extended time to interpreting the Parsha of Arami Oved Avi is praised because this is the essence of Torah study, it is not simply a time of story telling. Even though the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah applies all year, on Pesach night there is an extra Mitzvah to study all the aspects of Yetzias Mitzrayim.

וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה וַיָּגָר שָׁם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט, וַיְהִי שָׁם לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל עָצוּם וָרָב:
וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה אָנוּס עַל פִּי הַדִּבּוּר:
"And he sent him from the Valley of Chevron" (Breishis 37:14). Rashi asks that geographically Chevrin in on a mountain and he that this alludes to the "profound counsel of that righteous one who was buried in Chevron", referring to Avraham Avinu and the Bris Bayn Habesarim. The whole purpose of the sale of Joseph was to pave the way for bringing Jacob to Egypt. The Medrash says that had Jacob not gone to Egypt in order to see Joseph he would have been brought down there regardless, in chains if necessary, to fulfill the promise of the Bris Bayn Habesarim.
Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to them anyway. What was the purpose of sending Joseph to his brothers? If they were in need of help, how would Joseph, who was younger than the others, help his strong older brothers? Jacob was acting contrary to reason. This is what our Rabbis meant when they commented, as brought down by Rashi, from the profound counsel of Avraham Avinu. It was the divine will that guided Jacob to act in an irrational manner in order to facilitate the keeping of the promise "For your children shall be strangers in a land that is not their own". On the day that Jacob sent Joseph from his house to seek his brothers, the divine presence was working to unfold Jewish destiny. Our Rabbis said that on that very day Hashem was creating the light
of the Melech HaMoshiach (Breishis Rabbah Vayeshev 5:1). On that fateful day that Joseph left his father's house to seek his brothers great drama of the Nation of Israel was initiated that continues to this day and will continue till "the saviors shall mount Mount Esav". On that day the prophecy given to Avraham expanded itself beyond the exile in Egypt, and set in motion the chain of events for all the history that that has befallen, and is yet to befall, the Jewish Nation till the arrival of the Moshiach.

Yaakov is the chosen one among the patriarchs. He accomplished something that Avraham and Yitzchak did not have to: he went into exile twice, once in the house of Lavan and the second time when he went down to Egypt. Yaakov's partner in his exiles was Joseph. In fact, Joseph received a double portion in Eretz Yisrael because he suffered longer in exile than any of the sons of Yaakov. Hashgachas Hashem led Yaakov into exile to show that the Jew can be in exile and still remain mighty, El. Avraham and Yitzchak showed the attribute of Aysan, in that they remained firmly rooted to Eretz
Yisrael and did not experience exile [ for Avraham after the initial sojourn to Egypt as related in Lech Lecha].
Jewish history is the story of exile. Yaakov was sent to blaze the trail for the Jew in exile. The Jew must be able to withstand the exile that manifests itself in poverty and oppression, Galus Mayoni. This was the exile that Yaakov experienced in the house of Lavan. The Jew must also be able to withstand an exile that manifests in opportunity and plenty, Galus Mayosher, where he must resist the temptations to assimilate. It would appear that Bnay Yisrael remained more resolute in their faith when they were enduring Galus Mayoni than when they were afforded opportunities to assimilate in society through Galus Mayosher. The Rav noted that when he was a child, the financial constraints on the Jew were very limiting, yet there was a fierce, unshakeable commitment to Torah and Mitzvos. Joseph, who spent the longest time in exile, showed that it is possible to be the Viceroy of Egypt and remain committed to Torah and Mitzvos, he survived the Galus Mayosher
Ultimately, the prophet says that Bais Yaakov will be fire, Joseph will transform into an inferno and they will immolate the house of Esau. It is the combination of Galus Mayoni (Yaakov),and Galus Mayosher (Joseph) that will ultimately destroy Esau.  The Torah tells us that Yaakov and Joseph looked alike. Both also played major roles in Jewish History in that they set the example of survival under difficult circumstances, Oni and Osher. Chazal tell us that Yaakov feared the legions of Esau. Hashem reassured him that he had nothing to fear, as together with Joseph, the two of them will ensure the ultimate destruction of Esau. Yaakov and Joseph are linked by their common experience: the pain of exile.

49. Onus Al Pi Hadibbur

We emphasize that Yaakov went to Mitzrayim, Onus Al Pi Hadibbur, coerced by the divine instruction to descend to Egypt.  The Rav explains that we emphasize this to contrast Yaakov’s leaving Eretz Yisrael with Esav’s exit from Eretz Yisrael.  Esav gleefully abandoned Eretz Yisrael, regarding it a nuisance.  Rashi (Breishit 36:7) explains that Esav felt that the price to inherit a share in Eretz Yisrael – four hundred years of  being rootless and enduring slavery and torture as foretold in the Brit Bein Habetarim – was too steep and was happy to rid himself of this great burden.  This attitude caused Esav to forfeit any right he had to Eretz Yisrael when he left the country.  Yaakov, by contrast, left Eretz Yisrael unwillingly and thus did not forfeit his right to the land. 
This is reminiscent of the Rama Orach Chaim 539:7 (citing the Maharil) who states that when one leaves his Sukka because of heavy rain or some other significant irritant his attitude should not be that he is happy to rid himself of a nuisance.  Rather, he should be upset that Hashem has exiled him from his Sukka by sending rain or some other disturbance.  Interestingly, our sages compare the Mitzva of sitting in the Sukka with the Mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael.  For example, the Vilna Gaon noted that the only two Mitzvot that we fulfill with our entire bodies are the Mitzva of sitting in the Sukka and the Mitzva of Yeshivat Eretz Yisrael.
Similarly, the attitude of those of us who do not have the privilege of living in Eretz Yisrael should be like Yaakov Avinu and not Esav.  Our attitude should be that the circumstances that Hashem has placed upon us (familial, economic, etc.) force us to reside outside the Land.  We should not happy that we reside in Chutz Laaretz.

rcj rhs mph

 וַיָגָר שָׁם, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹּא יָרַד יַעֲקֹב אָבִינו
There are some stages where the patriarch is called Israel, and other stages where he is called Jacob. He is called Jacob whenever he is not free, or is dependent on others. Therefore, by grabbing the heel of Esau, he demonstrates dependency, and is called in the Torah Jacob. Thus, when a Jew is not free to mold his own destiny, he is called Jacob. When the patriarch emerged victorious from the struggle with the angel, he is now called Israel. The final sedra of Breishit begins with the words "Vayechi Yaakov" (and Jacob lived) because he was now about to die, and enslavement was about to commence. We see that it would be inappropriate to use the name Israel at this time because it was the start of defeat and humility. Life in Mitzrayim is basically described in the prophecies of Yechezkel (Ezekiel) and in Tehilim-the psalms of David. The Jews were completely integrated; they had become an integral part of the Egyptian economy. They had come from Canaan-a land of shepherds-to a great society, perhaps the greatest of the world at that era. Consequently, there was degeneration and assimilation. However, they did not give up their identity! The people were taught that generations ago there was a father Abraham who made a covenant with G-d, and that at some point in time a mysterious redeemer would appear and would pronounce the words, "pakod pakadity etchem" (I will certainly remember you). Jacob gave them these words, a password, so that they shouldn't believe a usurper whose name they didn't know. Again, we find a correlation between Jacob and Israel, for physically they were Jacob, enslaved, but spiritually they were proud and independent, Israel. Thus, Moses found the people ready to listen; Jacob had prepared the people. 
Why did Jacob refuse to be buried in Egypt? It was motivated by one thought, one which had great importance. There is a tendency to come closer to parents as one gets older, to come closer to the roots. It was thought that their real identity was rooted far from Egypt. Jacob emerged as a spiritual giant, for he defeated the assimilation. It was the first time that a minority refused to shed its identity! Reuven and Shimon entered Egypt, and Reuven and Shimon emerged! "Vayakrivu y'mai Yisrael lamuth" (and the days drew near for Israel to die). It is symbolic that Israel will live.
In teaching, it is felt that the younger the student and the older the teacher the better the results. It is important not only to teach the facts, but to teach the emotions and the experiences. Of course, the word zakain (elder) is symbolic because ripeness in years is not necessarily a qualification for transmitting ideas. However, an older individual who actually "experienced" can relate better. Jacob transmitted the tradition to Ephraim and Menashe prior to giving his blessings to his own sons because he desired to hand down directly to the third generation, not via Joseph (the second generation). Of course, the age difference was very great. And, he gave priority to Ephraim because he was even younger. Thus, Jacob desired to prove that tradition could be handed through many generations, even skipping generations. Jacob proved that a man 3500 years ago can address himself to a person living today. When Jacob proved that an old man from ancient Canaan could communicate with young children (Ephraim and Menashe), born in Egypt aristocracy without the mediation of Joseph.
In the sedra of Vayichi, Jacob pointed out to Joseph that Rachel was buried by the roadside and not in a lonely obscure grave. It is a fact that grandchildren rarely visit the graves of their grandparents, but by this burial, not only will her grave be visited but Rachel is considered the mother of the Jewish people and Jacob the father. We are told in Scripture that when the Jewish nation went into exile at the destruction of the first Temple, while they were in despair and on the way to captivity in Babylon, it was Rachel's soul that intervened for them, and G-d assured her that they would return. By Jacob declaring that Ephraim and Menashe are to me as Reuven and Shimon, he showed us that he was the father of all Jewish people. He assured Joseph that all generations passing along the way will consider her as the mother. 
The Torah tells us that Joseph taught the third generation-the children of Ephraim and Menashe-the same as his father showed him to skip over generations. Thus, Joseph emulated his father in the swearing that his bones be taken up from Egypt. Pakod (remember) is repeated twice at the end of the sedra. The first one means that he assures his brothers that they have won the battle of assimilation, "We have all had a share in the victory." "Vayishba bnei Yisrael" (and he made swear the children of Israel), not echav (his brothers). He wanted to prove that no matter how high a Jew becomes politically, he doesn't give up his Jewish identity. Of course, he is loyal to his community, but he doesn't allow his identity to suffer.  Who was it who took the bones of Joseph out of Egypt? It was Moses, the grandchildren of Levi who had conspired to kill Joseph. Actually, Levi changed his mind about Joseph, and handed down beautiful stories about him so that the grandchild Moses loved Joseph. Moses came to love and revere Joseph as a rabbi and a master.

לְהִשְׁתַּקֵּעַ בְּמִצְרַיִם אֶלָּא לָגוּר שָׁם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ כִּי אֵין מִרְעֶה לַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר לַעֲבָדֶיךָ כִּי כָבֵד הָרָעָב בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן, וְעַתָּה יֵשְׁבוּ נָא עֲבָדֶיךָ בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן:
בִּמְתֵי מְעָט, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, בְּשִׁבְעִים נֶפֶשׁ יָרְדוּ אֲבוֹתֶיךָ מִצְרָיְמָה וְעַתָּה שָׂמְךָ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרוֹב:
וַיְהִי שָׁם לְגוֹי, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְצֻיָּנִים שָׁם:
גָּדוֹל עָצוּם, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל פָּרוּ וַיִּשְׁרְצוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ וַיַּעַצְמוּ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ אֹתָם:
Poru (terms regarding the Jews) - Fertility.  It was a blessing that woman should be fertile.  “Vayishr’tzu” No fetus should die.  “Vayirbu” means to grow up, to mature.  The complaint was “they are not ready for release; not mature.”  Therefore, Vayirbu.  So it was conception, incubation, childhood growth without succumbing to disease.  Then “Vayatzmu” - They were courageous.  Egypt says, “They are more than us!”  Ridiculous.  Of course, Egypt had numerical superiority.  It means: “They are superior to us intellectually!”

וָרָב, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, רְבָבָה כְּצֶמַח הַשָּׂדֶה נְתַתִּיךְ וַתִּרְבִּי וַתִּגְדְּלִי וַתָּבֹאִי בַּעֲדִי עֲדָיִים שָׁדַיִם נָכֹנוּ וּשְׂעָרֵךְ צִמֵּחַ וְאַתְּ עֵרֹם וְעֶרְיָה:
וָאֶעֱבוֹר עָלַיִךְ וָאֶרְאֵךְ מִתְבּוֹסֶסֶת בְּדָמָיִךְ וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי:
The Rambam says that Milah took place in Egypt and Tvila took place at Mount Sinai. The Ramban disagrees and says that there was Tvila in Egypt as well otherwise they would not have been able to eat the Korban Pesach, for a non-jew was specifically enjoined from eating the Pesach. So the Ramban asks what did they need another Tvila at Mount Sinai? The Ramban answers that up till the time of the exodus the people had the same level of sanctity as Avraham, who had 1 Mitzvah to fulfill, that of circumcision. When the Jews were given additional Mitzvos in Egypt regarding the Korban Pesach, the additional Mitzvos required them to undergo a conversion process, for they now would attain a different status beyond that of Avraham. The Tvila in Egypt was for the conversion beyond the level of Abraham. At Sinai they accepted yet more Mitzvos.  They therefore required an additional Tvila to consummate the conversion at Sinai. From this we observe that Gayrus is measured by the level of Mitzvos accepted. When the Jews accepted new Mitzvos they required another Tvila, another conversion. HERE?

וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ
Vayorayu Osonu HaMiztrim. (And the Egyptians ill-treated us).  Again, this is taken from sedra Ki Sovo - the statement made by each person who came to the Bais Hamikdosh and then introduced into the Hagaddah.  In the Torah, we find the same passage twice described but in slightly different language semantically.  There is the famous epistle in which Moshe sent messengers to the children of Esau in order for the Israelites to pass through their land.  In sedra “Chukas” of Bamidbar, chapter 20, line 16 “Vayorayu Lonu Mitzraim” (the Egyptians ill-treated us).  In sedra “Ki Sovo” of Devarim - chapter 26, line 6 - “Voyorayu Osonu HaMitzrim”.  Again, it has exactly the same translation - Lonu - Osonu both mean “to us”.  Yet, there is a choice of different words.  Moshe employs Lonu - the Israelites say Osonu.  What did Pharoah say?  “Let us act with cunning because the Jew is cunning.  Let us outwit him.”  He considered the Jew disloyal, one who will eat the fat of the land but will not defend the land.  Pharoah created a reputation for the Jew as a deceitful being.  It has accompanied us through the ages but was begun by Pharoah.  He has made us to be “bad fellows”.  He has maligned us, he has blackened our personality.  “The Jew cannot be trusted.” 
There are many verbs in Hebrew which might occur with several cases.  For example, we have “Asher Bochar Bonu” (in the blessing, “He who chose us.”) This is the ablative case.  It also comes in the accusative or objective case “Asher Bochar Osonu.”  Both mean the same superficially but what is the difference.  Semantically, between the ablative and accusitive case, when “Bochar” is in the ablative case, it means no consolation possible.  It cannot be revoked or altered (Therefore, in Bochar Bonu - it means for example that G-d chose us and it is irrevocable.)  Rambam says that the Kedushah of the Bais Hamikdosh cannot be altered.  It is absolute, irrevocable.  If it is accustaive it is weaker.  It can be altered and undone.  Irrevocably, we have the following: a) Torah; b) Nevuah (the prophecies); c) Eretz Yisroel; d) Yerushalaim.  Therefore, ablative is strong and cannot be cancelled.
There is another way of expressing the article in Hebrew grammar.  It can be expressed B’(Baze) or L’ (Lamed) or we can use the article Es before the noun.   “Es” is stronger.  It is the ablative.  B’ or L’ is weaker - accusative.  How do we know this?  This is a classic example in Torah referring love of man towards man and love of man towards G-d.  Concerning love towards man it is written, “V’Ohavto L’Rayacho Komocho” (and you shall love your neighbor as yourself).  Concerning G-d, it is written “V’Ohavto Es Hashem Elokecho”.  Towards man it is objective, weaker.  Towards G-d, accusative, irrevocable.  It is impossible to be absolutely dedicated to even a brother.  It is not humanly possible.  There is the controversy of two people in the desert with a small pitcher of water.  If they share, both will die because it cannot sustain two.  If one drinks, he will live, the other die.  The sage Ben Peturah advocates sharing.  Rabbi Akivah says that the one who has the pitcher drinks and lives.  Why does he say this?  Is Akivah heartless?  It is because he illustrates that one cannot love another person’s life as his own.
For G-d is is “Es” even at the cost of your life.  This is the difference between L’ (Lamed) and Es.  Therefore L’Ryacho for man -- Es for G-d.  Do help your brother but not the same degree as yourself.  Therefore, it does not say Es Rayacho.  If it is a human problem, I come first.  To G-d it is unmitigated love.
Now concerning Pharaoh’s treatment of the Jews -  If it said Yorayu Lonu it would not be as strong.  It would mean he made life a little unpleasant, irritated us, but did not want to destroy us.  Osonu means to enslave the entire people, to destroy because he hated them.  The same was Hitler’s decision of the “final solution” at Vansee.  The Germans thought he meant “Lonu”.  The “heads rolling in the dust” meant Osonu.  This is the “Hava Nischakmo Lo” - let us be cunning.  It was the same language of Goebbels.  “They acted as naive children.  We won the battle.  It was the “final solution”.  Why say Pharaoh?  Because they are a security risk.  They will make us leave the land.  The Osonu, therefore, is complete destruction.  This is how “Bal Hagaddah” interprets this.
Vayanunu.  They tortured us.  They caused us pain!  What does it mean?  It is physical forced hard labor without compensation, where each individual must deliver a certain quota.  It is either the daily quota or the whip.  It is either a brick made or a child entombed in its place.  If I don’t profit by meeting the quota it is psychologically very hard. Vayar Es Onyanu - He saw our affliction - the enforced separation of man and wife.  What prompted the Bal Hagaddah from interpreting differently between the verb of “Vayanunu” and the noun “Onyanu”.  It says He heard our voice.  Then why does it say, “And He saw our affliction?”  - our burden - our oppression.  Apparently, these things were not included in their prayer.  In addition to their prayer, G-d recognized things which they themselves didn’t know and didn’t include.  What did they complain?  The work!  There are many forms of slavery.  The most obvious is chicanery - making people work without pay.  They only felt the physical aspect but not the spiritual.  The other phenomena they didn’t realize.  Their cry rose to G-d but was limited.  Otherwise, if according to their prayers, He would have saved them physically but would not have changed them to spiritual greatness.  It is said that if He merely listened to our prayers, it would have resulted in half a redemption, indeed, bad for us.  Therefore, “Vayar”.  He took a good look.  He understood that which they couldn’t understand.  Therefore, the “Vayar,” in addition to “Vayishma”.  They were aware of the torture bu of the different level in store for them, they were unaware!
Kol Habayn (all the sons you shall throw into the water).  At the time of “Yetzias Mitzraim, this was already long, long forgotten.  It was a statute which was once on the books perhaps 2 or 3 generations before.  It existed once for 3 months when Moshe was born, eighty years ago.  It had been abolished by the “Melech Chodosh”, the new king.  The people themselves had forgotten that their children had been killed.  The statute of limitations had expired.  They forgot to mention it in their prayers.  The same applies today.  From 1944 to 1979, people have forgotten Treblinka, Maidenek, etc.  Everyone forgot.  They mentioned only labor in their prayers.  But, G-d didn’t forget.  The mind of the tortured becomes physically exhausted.  It is hard to imagine but survivors of the death camps whose children were killed say, “If he or she had not been killed, they’d be around 50 now.  Many people die at age of 50 anyway.  The martyr’s deaths were not mentioned in the prayers.
“Lachatz” - oppression.  The element of “lachatz” is what tipped the balance in favor of Israel.  What is decisive about “Lachatz” which is not in “onyanu” and “Vayanunu” etc?  It means, “Action is imperative now.”  They had to spend there 400 years and were there but half the time.  G-d accelerated it as much as possible.  “It is now or never.”  There are pain thresholds of which some have high thresholds and some have low ones.  The same applies to persecution thresholds.  Some people may easily be shattered by persecution.
G-d had to act quickly because of the tremendous pressure for assimilation.  They were severely threatened.  Chazal says that “Yetzias Mitzraim” was as taking a baby from the mother’s womb.  It was now or goodbye.  Otherwise, let us forget the promise to Abraham, the eschatological future, the messianic future. “But I cannot do it, I have already promised Abraham.”  Worthy or not, it must be.  “The Jew can fall very low but can rise very high.”  It was declared by a philosopher we don’t at all care for -- Zeresh, wife of Haman.  “When Israel falls, it is as low as the ground, but when she rises it is up to the stars.”  Thus, the problem must quickly be resolved.  Torah says, “Despite all of Israel’ faults, it is still my child.”  She can rise as high as the sky.

Vayokom Melech Chodosh - A new king arose who didn’t know Joseph!  In a sense, he didn’t know what Joseph did for Egypt.  Targum Onkelos says, “Lo M’kayam G’zarus Yosef,” - he didn’t uphold the edict of Joseph.  What G’zara did Joseph implement?  It means he was stupid and an ingrate.  He didn’t recognize what Joseph had done; for with Joseph, Egypt would have been destroyed.  Apparently, when Jacob came to Egypt there was a question of supporting the family.  It was not just feeding but apparently there was an agreement or a promise that Pharaoh, the government would supply food to Jacob’s family, irregardless of circumstances.  This is “G’zarus Yosef” - Joseph’s decree or edict.  In sedra Vaychee, we find “Al Tirov” - do not fear; Pharaoh will implement that which he promised.  “And Joseph settled his family as Pharaoh instructed.  Pharaoh instructed that the family be fed no matter how long the family remain.
Now we have “melech chodosh” - a new king - who doesn’t want to honor the agreement.  “Asher Lo Yodah” -- who doesn’t recognize, who doesn’t appreciate.  There are two points of interest!  In sedra Vayigash we find: “Bring your father and your household.  Take -- birng father -- do not long for your goods; the best of Egypt is before you!”  We get the impression that Pharaoh wanted the whole family to come!  Why?  He appreciated Joseph, recognized him as a genius who foresaw the future and told Pharaoh how to prepare.  He had unlimited confidence!  “If one is a genius, they may all be!”  “If you have to spend money don’t worry.  The best of Egypt is before you!”  It was a strong statement.
Apparently, his successor changed.  In sedra Vaychee, we find that a whole multitude of Egyptians went to bury Jacob.  It was a great mourning.  What is amazing is that the Egyptians mourned Jacob.  The place of mourning is called “Ayval Mitzraim” -- Egyptian mourning.  Egypt actually was in despair.  Zohar asks a question “Why?”  The answer is that they already beheld the decline of Egypt as a world power.  It commenced to become a secondary power.  Chazal says that as long as Jacob was in Egypt the Nile River used to rise to water the land.  With his death, it stopped rising.  They intuitively felt that Egypt will face money crises which will eventually reduce it as a nation.  We almost feel the same here in Russian feelings towards America.  We feel that we are declining.  “With the passing of that old Jew something radical will happen.”  Of course, if they hadn’t started with the Jews, it wouldn’t have brought plagues.  With Joseph’s death, there was no one to qualify to guide the destinies of the Egyptian nation.  Therefore, the statement in Torah, “Hovo Nischarmo Lo” - (Let us act with guile against them) means automatically the decline of Egypt.  The same applied to Germany!

וַיְעַנּוּנוּ וַיִתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ עֲבוֹדָה קָשָׁה:
וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ הַמִּצְרִים, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה לוֹ פֶּן יִרְבֶּה וְהָיָה כִּי תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם הוּא עַל שֹוֹנְאֵינוּ וְנִלְחַם בָּנוּ וְעָלָה מִן הָאָרֶץ:
וַיְעַנּוּנוּ, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלָיו שָׂרֵי מִסִּים לְמַעַן עַנּוֹתוֹ בְּסִבְלוֹתָם וַיִּבֶן עָרֵי מִסְכְּנוֹת לְפַרְעֹה אֶת פִּתֹם וְאֶת רַעַמְסֵס:
וַיִּתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ עֲבוֹדָה קָשָׁה, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיַּעֲבִדוּ מִצְרַיִם אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּפָרֶךְ:
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וַיִּשְׁמַע י-ה-ו-ה אֶת קֹלֵנוּ וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ:

The Rav explained that there are 2 aspects to Tefila: 1) Avodah Shblev - the obligation upon  man to pray each day. [This aspect is captured by the Rambam in Hilchos Tefila.]
2) Zeakah  B'es Tzarah - a cry for help in time of crisis and need, based on Vharayosem  B'chatzotzros. [This aspect is captured by the Rambam in Hilchos Taanis.]
The Avodah Shblev aspect of Tefila limits man to pray 3 times a day. Why can't man pray all day if he wishes? Because the daily prayer is of the Vaeschanan type, a limited prayer 3 times a day. An individual is limited in how far he can push his case. The Zeakah aspect allows man to add an additional prayer, Neilah, on a fast day (see the Ramabam  in  Hilchos Taanis chapter 1). This extra prayer indicates that in time of crisis there is no restriction to how  much prayer is allowed. We are obligated to blow the trumpets when the community is in peril, and to pray without limitation or restriction. This is the prayer of Vayechal.
The Rav noted that there is a difference between Moshe's prayer as Vayechal and his prayer as Vaeschanan. In Parshas Ki Tisa Moshe was allowed to continue his prayer of Vayechal without interruption from  Hashem. Indeed, not only did  Moshe pray, he demanded that Hashem should forgive the Jewish People. The Midrash describes that Moshe grabbed, Kvayachol, the coat of Hashem and refused to let go until the people were forgiven. Vayechal means an unbounded prayer where demands can be made.
In Parshas Vaeschanan on the other hand, Moshe prays to Hashem as a poor person who begs for a favor. In this case Hashem told him to cease his prayer, as he has prayed enough. The prayer of Vaeschanan must not be lengthy and one can request a favor but cannot demand anything.
We can now  understand why the Gemara quotes the 2 opinions as to the length of time needed to wait between Tefilos. There is a difference in the amount of time one must wait in order to prepare for a prayer of Vayechal and for a prayer of Vaeschanan. When one prays as Vayechal Moshe, he is praying on behalf of the congregation. Such a prayer is unbounded and unrestricted. Vaeschanan was a personal prayer by Moshe, which has a more restrictive format.
The Rav explained that the 2 opinions in the Gemara regarding how long one must wait before repeating Shemoneh Esray disagree as to the kind of prayer that one must prepare himself for. According to 1 opinion he must wait long enough to compose his thoughts so he can pray  like a poor person seeking a favor, like Vaeschanan. Such a prayer is limited and does not require extremely long preparation. The second opinion holds that one  must long enough to prepare for a prayer of Vayechal. Such a prayer is unlimited in length and tone, a prayer like that of Moshe when he spent 40 days and 40 nights praying to Hashem that he should forgive the Jewish People.  Such a Tefila takes a longer time to prepare for.
Based on the above, we can distinguish between the Amidah of Avraham  and the Siach of Yitzchak. Avraham's attribute is kindness towards all, Chesed, which is externally focused towards the larger community. Since his prayer was for the Klal, it is described as Amidah, where Avraham stood tall and straight before Hashem  and presented his prayer. Yitzchak's attribute is Gevurah, Tzimtzum, hidden inner strength. His prayer was directed inward for himself (though Yitzchak was certainly praying for the greater community as well). This inward focused prayer is the prayer of the poor man, Tefila L'ani Ki Yaatof. The words Ki Yaatof mean that the poor man wraps himself in his prayer shawl. It also means to bend over, as the poor person is often stooped over. The prayer of Siach is the supplication of downtrodden man as he approaches Hashem with great trepidation.
Sometimes man  must pray to Hashem from the standpoint of Tefila L'ani Ki Yaatof Vlifnay Hashem Yishpoch Sicho. This is a limited prayer that is subject to Hashem telling him Rav Lach, Al Tosef, like Hashem told Moshe in Vaeschanan.

 אֶל י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיְהִי בַיָּמִים הָרַבִּים הָהֵם וַיָּמָת מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם וַיֵאָנְחוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן הָעֲבֹדָה וַיִּזְעָקוּ, וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעָתָם אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים מִן הָעֲבֹדָה:
וַיִּשְׁמַע י-ה-ו-ה אֶת קֹלֵנוּ, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶת נַאֲקָתָם וַיִזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּרִיתוֹ אֶת אַבְרָהָם אֶת יִצְחָק וְאֶת יַעֲקֹב:
['Go and assemble the elders of Bnay Yisrael and say to them "Hashem the Gd of our forefathers appeared to me. And they will heed your voice and you and the elders of Bnay Yisrael shall come to the King of Egypt and say to him, "Hashem the Gd of the Hebrews happened upon us' (Shemos 3:16,18).
'And Moshe and Aaron went and gathered all the elders of the children of Israel... And the people believed and they heard that Hashem had remembered Bnay Yisrael' (Shemos 4:29,31).
'And afterwards Moshe and Aaron came to Paroh and said to him "So said Hashem the Gd of Israel send out my people that they may celebrate for me in the wilderness. Paroh replied, "Who is Hashem that I shall heed his voice and send out Israel. I do not know Hashem nor will I send out Israel. So they said, "the Gd of the Hebrews happened upon us"' (Shemos 5:1-3).
The Rav raised 2 questions on the above p'sukim:
1) HKB'H said that Moshe should assemble the elders and come with them to Paroh. However only Moshe and Aaron appeared to Paroh. What happened to the elders? Why didn't Moshe fulfill his obligation and bring them to Paroh with Aaron and himself?
2) HKB'H commanded Moshe to say 'The Gd of the Hebrews happened upon us'. Yet Moshe's first pronouncement to Paroh was 'So says  Hashem Gd of Israel...'. After Paroh says 'who is Gd that I shall listen to Him', Moshe says 'The Gd of the Hebrews happened upon us'. Why didn't Moshe initially identify Hashem as Gd of the Hebrews as Hashem commanded him?
The Rav explained the first question based on his interpretation of the Ramban [Note: the Rav did not specify which Ramban he was referring to. It would appear that he was referring to the Ramban 4:1, VaYaan Moshe]: Hashem commanded him to assemble the elders (Lech V'asafta) and to tell them that Hashem has commanded that Moshe, Aaron and the elders appear to Paroh (Uvasa Ata Vziknay Yisrael). This constituted an obligatory Mitzvah on Moshe, Aaron and the elders. The elders were obligated to listen to Moshe. The Rav noted that the term 'And you shall come' (Uvasa) has the same shape and tense of many of the positive commandments in the Torah (e.g. U'Lkachtem Lachem, V'Shinantam L'Vanecha). The obligation is expressed through the use of the future tense. These positive commandments are related to Bnay Yisrael. They must choose to take the Lulav and Esrog, sit in a Succah, and teach their children Torah of their own volition.
Moshe was obligated to charge them with the positive commandment to appear before Paroh together with him and Aaron. [Note: as the Ramban says (ibid): Hashem did not promise Moshe that the elders would listen to him, rather that he must command them to listen, for it is intended that they listen to him]. Their coming with him and Aaron to Paroh had to be of their own free will (Bechira Chofshis).
The Rav explained the second question: The Ramban says (5:3, Pen Yiphga'aynu) that at that time, the other nations of the world knew of Hashem the Gd of the Hebrews. That name was understood as referring to the Gd of Avraham Haivri who was well known among the nations of the area and era. "Hashem, the Gd of Bnay Yisrael", which included the first use of the divine name of Hashem connected to the nation of Israel, was first revealed to Moshe at the burning bush. This represented a new name, that combined Hashem with the nation of Israel as a distinct identity. Elokay Haivrim, Avraham Haivri, represented the Gd of Avraham the individual. Hashem Elokay Yisrael connotes the Gd of the NATION of Israel and not the Gd of Jacob, our forefather. When Moshe mentioned it, Paroh did not associate it with the name of Hashem that he was familiar with. Had the elders accompanied Moshe and Aaron to Paroh, Moshe would not have used the name Hashem the Gd of Bnay Yisrael. This name of Hashem was not revealed to the elders until Bnay Yisrael received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Only at that time were they granted permission to refer to Hashem with that name. Therefore Moshe would not have used that name in the presence of the elders. (Though the new name of Hashem was not revealed to Aaron either, the Rav explained that Moshe and Aaron were extensions of each other and were viewed as one and the same with regard to the use of the name of Hashem.)
When Moshe saw that only he and Aaron were going to appear before Paroh, and that the elders would not fulfill their obligation, he thought that their absence gave him license to use the name of Hashem that was revealed to him at the burning bush, 'Hashem Elokay Yisrael'. Certainly there must have been a purpose for Hashem to reveal that name to him.  He figured there now was no longer a reason to refrain from using the new name of Hashem that he had received. When Paroh failed to recognize 'Hashem, Gd of Bnay Yisrael', Moshe realized that the reason Hashem commanded him to use the name of Gd of the Ivrim, was so that Paroh might immediately recognize the name of Hashem. His next reference to Hashem before Paroh was therefore changed to Elokay Haivrim, Gd of the Hebrews.]

וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ, זוֹ פְּרִישׁוּת דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים:
וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ, אֵלּוּ הַבָּנִים. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכוּהוּ וְכָל הַבַּת תְּחַיּוּן:
וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ, זוֹ הַדְּחַק. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְגַם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַלַּחַץ אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַיִם לוֹחֲצִים אוֹתָם:
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה וּבְמֹרָא גָּדוֹל וּבְאֹתוֹת וּבְמֹפְתִים:
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה מִמִּצְרַיִם, לֹא עַל יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ
[The concept of Shlichus applies to man and angel alike. The difference between them is that man has free will and can choose whether or not to fulfill his mission, while the angel does not have free will and has no choice but to comply with the will of Hashem. When the angels visited Abraham after his circumcision, the Torah refers to them as Anashim, People. When the same angels visited Lot in Sodom, they were called Malachim, angels. The Midrash, quoted by Rashi, says that the angels were called people, because next to Abraham who was regularly visited by angels, they appeared as ordinary people. Next to Lot who was not used to seeing angels, they appeared truly as angels, and are referred to as such. The Rav added that Abraham, who was exemplary in his kindness and was unflagging in his drive to make known the name of Hashem to all, was the most exemplary Malach possible, a human being who does the will of Hashem. All he needed to do to see an angel, was to look in the mirror. An angel in the house of Abraham did not add anything since Abraham was always ready to act in the role of emissary of Hashem. Relative to Abraham, an angel was as unremarkable as the addition of straw to Ophrayim, or magic to Egypt (Menachos 85a).]

 וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי שָׂרָף וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ.
Parshas Shemos introduces a brand new fundamental concept Judaism that offers a completely new perspective on the role of man relative to creation.  This concept was first revealed to Moshe in Egypt. The verse that introduces this concept is often overlooked, and quickly read without appreciating the significance of the idea that it conveys, in terms of its relevance to Moshe and the entire Jewish Nation. 
The words are "V'ata L'cha V'eshlachacha El Paroh", and now go and I will send you to Pharo.  This represents a brand new relationship between Hashem and man.
For the first time, Hashem, the Master of all, appoints a frail human being as His emissary, His Sholiach. How is this possible? We have a principle that Shelucho Shel Adam K'moso, the emissary represents the one who charged him with the task. How is it possible for a human being of flesh and blood, here today and gone tomorrow, to act as the representative of Hashem? There is no intellectually satisfactory answer to this question, yet the fact is that Moshe was sent as the emissary of Hashem. This notion of Moshe as emissary of Hashem is reinforced by the verse "And he sent an emissary (Malach) and took us out of Egypt" (Bamidbar 20:16). Rashi interprets Malach as referring to Moshe.
Apparently, the fact that man was created in the image of God, B'tzelem Elokim, allows man to assume the role of emissary from God to the rest of creation. Instead of saying that the relationship between Hashem and man is one of Shelucho Shel Adam K'moso, we should view it Shelucho Shel Makon Nivra B'tzalmo, the emissary of Hashem was created in His image.
If it was possible for Moshe to be the emissary of Hashem, it is possible for every person to do the same. If one were to ask: what is the purpose of man in this world? The answer would be that man was sent to be the emissary of Hashem.
This paradox of Shlichus was revealed to Moshe by Hashem when He sent him to Paroh. Moshe questioned: who was he to approach Paroh and to free the people from Egypt? Aaron is better suited to this task. Hashem explained to Moshe that he was making a fundamental mistake. Moshe thought that he would be responsible for freeing the people and Hashem will remain hidden in His heavenly abode and be a non- participant in the exodus process. Hashem said that He will accompany Moshe every step of the way, for without the help of Hashem, no one, not even Aaron, could accomplish a thing. Not only will Hashem accompany Moshe, but He will accompany Aaron as well and guide his tongue to say what Hashem wants him to say. Moshe, you will realize the full magnitude of this in a short time, when you will worship Hashem and receive the Torah on this mountain after the exodus. And you will wonder how is it possible for a group of slaves to turn themselves around so quickly to become the chosen nation of Hashem and to proclaim Naaseh V'nishma, we will do and will listen, at Mount Sinai. The answer is that I will accompany you and make it possible. The lesson is that the Shlichus of Hashem can never be too difficult to perform, because the Mshaleach, Hashem, accompanies every person in the performance of his mission. [To such an extent that the actual exodus would have been impossible without G-d, therefore we can truthfully say that the Exodus was performed without a shliach, because with out Hashem the Exodus could not have transpired. ADK]

Why did G-d command in such a strange way--"Come to Pharaoh and Me," or "Come with me?" When Moshe said, "Who am I to go to Pharaoh," G-d answered, "Because I will be with you."  There are two forms of shelichot (being an agent). First is simply to perform a mission by proxy. The second is personalistic--two people united by a bond of friendship, committed, sharing each other's trials or joys. They achieve a common identity. Thus, in the Beit Hamikdash, the kohen who prepared the sacrifice did it for the person who brought it, but the one who brought it had to be present. He could not send it by proxy. This is the personalistic one.  The chazan (cantor) is the shaliach (agent) of the tzibur (congregation), but the people must be present. People cannot, for instance, say, "I'll let the chazan represent me; I'll stay home." It can only be performed in the presence of the people, not by proxy. It is only accomplished by common identity. Maimonides ruled that the chazan should not be close to the aron kodesh, but in the center, close to the congregants. The people surrounded the shaliach tzibur. Man feels the hot breath on his cold face, and this experience is the supreme common identity. That is why in the first expression G-d said, "Lech." Come with me in common identity. It is not sending him away, but like the prayer L'cha Dodi--lets go together. Man can come so close that there is one voice, one feeling.
We live in an era where people don't take history for granted. G-d waits for man to seize the initiative, waits a long time for the shaliach (messenger). Let us ask ourselves, "What does G-d need man for? Why should he depend upon a human being?" The answer is that G-d wants man to be a participant in the geulah (redemption).
After the mission is accomplished, the shaliach is not mentioned. The individual deserves no praise. G-d is the warrior! man never is the warrior. When man becomes the teacher, the mentor, he deserves praise. G-d does not bestow political economic power on man. G-d was the speaker, the actor. G-d longs for man, but he accomplished all. "Lo al yadai shaliach" (not through the hands of a messenger). This statement is confusing didn’t Moshe take the people out of Egypt?
The answer is that Moshe’s primary role was one of teacher, when Moshe pleads with God and questions the propriety of his leading the people out:
שמות פרק ג
(יא)וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים מִי אָנֹכִי כִּי אֵלֵךְ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וְכִי אוֹצִיא אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם:
The answer offered by God is that Moshe’s main role is not the Exodus, rather his job is to bring the Torah from heaven:
(יב) וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ וְזֶה לְּךָ הָאוֹת כִּי אָנֹכִי שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ בְּהוֹצִיאֲךָ אֶת הָעָם מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּעַבְדוּן אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים עַל הָהָר הַזֶּה:
Moshe is remembered as Rabbenu, our teacher par-excellence, not as Malkenu, Golalaenu or a host of other roles that he may have fulfilled.
The exodus was performed by God. However the torah was wrest from the angels and taught to the Jewish people by Moshe Rabbenu.
Without Moshe there would be no geulah, but the entire geulah, the entire credit is G-d's.   Kingship and power belongs to G-d, but the attribute of knowledge, grace and kindness can be man's to be like G-d. G-d did not permit Moshe's name to be mentioned in the exodus, but He did permit his name to be recorded throughout the Torah. G-d tells Moshe, "You will never be called a man of power, but will always be called the great leader." Thus, in Shir Hashirim we have but an allusion to Moshe; his name is not mentioned. "In the middle of the night on my bed I sought him (that is Moshe). When I found whom I love, I held him and would not let him go. I brought him to my mother's house!" On the night of Mitzrayim, Moshe's name is eliminated. Similarly, when the Haggadah of the Mashiach (Messiah) is written, Mashiach's name also will not be mentioned.  

 אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ.
The Rambam says (7:2) that the father must teach his child according to his capabilities. He explains to the minor or less capable child that we were once slaves, like so and so who is a slave, and Hashem rescued us on this night and set us free. The father is obligated to teach the wise son about all that transpired in Egypt and about all the wonderful miracles that Hashem performed through Moshe our teacher. The Rav asked why do we tell the wise child about Moshe and his role in the exodus, while we do not mention Moshe at all, or the miracles he performed, to the foolish child?

Apparently this Beraysa teaches us two things: 1)Yetzias Mitzrayim was accomplished solely by Hashem. 2) it is forbidden to mention the name of the messenger (Moshe) in Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim. The Rav explained that for this reason we do not mention the name of Moshe at all in the Haggadah. [According to some editions, Moshe is mentioned once, but only parenthetically as part of a verse that is quoted in the Haggadah. The Rambam's Haggadah does not mention Moshe at all.] Moshe is not mentioned because on the night of Pesach it was Hashem Himself, and only Hashem, who took us out of bondage and set us free. We stress the notion of Lo Al Yeday Malach, Hashem did not use an intermediary to rescue us on the night of Pesach. Why is it forbidden to mention a human being, Moshe, when we talk about redemption?

The Rav quoted a Midrash on Shir Hashirim (3:1) Al Mishkavi Balaylos refers to the night of the Seder. I sought my true love, refers to Knesses Yisrael looking for Moshe, who recognized the one person who suffered so much from them and for them while attempting to convince both the Jewish People and Paroh that the time of redemption had arrived. However on this night, in the Haggadah, we do not find him. Only Hashem is the recognized redeemer of Israel on this night. No human being can share the title. On Purim we mention human beings in connection with the event, Blessed is Esther and Mordechai, because Purim was an incomplete redemption, since Chazal say that we are still the slaves of Achashveirush. The ultimate redemption will come about only through Hashem without mention of the Moshiach, as it says Yomru Geulay Hashem Asher Gealam Miyad Tzar.

When we tell the story of the exodus and the redemption, only Hashem is mentioned since there was no co-redeemer. However when we study Torah, we are obligated to mention the name of Moshe, the teacher of Israel, because Moshe has an important part in Torah, Zichru Toras Moshe Avdi. When we study with the foolish child, we mention only the stories of the redemption itself, hence we mention only Hashem, the sole redeemer. However, when we study with the wise son, the entire Haggadah becomes an article of Torah Shbichtav and Torah Shbeal Peh, we therefore mention Moshe throughout. 

The Rav explained that for this reason the Rambam refers to the entire set of stories and explanations as Haggadah and not Sippur. Haggadah means Drash, study of Torah. On this night we do not simply relate stories. Rather, we learn Torah Shbichtav through a framework of Torah Shbeal Peh. The Parshas Arami Oved Avi as well as the statement of Rabban Gamliel regarding Pesach, Matzah and Maror are all part of Midrash and Limud Torah. We say Baruch Hamakom before we mention the 4 sons to show that up until this point we were engaged in story telling. From now on we are engaging in Limud Torah with the wise son. We recite Bircas Hatorah, Baruch Hamakom, before we study.

 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה וְהִכֵּיתִי כָל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מֵאָדָם וְעַד בְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים אֲנִי י-ה-ו-ה: וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, אֲנִי וְלֹא מַלְאָךְ. וְהִכֵּיתִי כָל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אֲנִי וְלֹא שָׂרָף. וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם אֱעֶשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים אֲנִי וְלֹא הַשָּׁלִיחַ. אֲנִי י-ה-ו-ה, אֲנִי הוּא וְלֹא אַחֵר:

בְּיָד חֲזָקָה, זוֹ הַדֶּבֶר. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, הִנֵּה יַד י-ה-ו-ה הוֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה בַּסּוּסִים בַּחֲמוֹרִים בַּגְּמַלִּים בַּבָּקָר וּבַצֹּאן דֶּבֶר כָּבֵד מְאֹד:
וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה, זוֹ הַחֶרֶב. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ נְטוּיָה עַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם:
וּבְמוֹרָא גָּדוֹל, זוֹ גִּלּוּי שְׁכִינָה. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, אוֹ הֲנִסָּה אֱלֹהִים לָבֹא לָקַחַת לוֹ גּוֹי מִקֶּרֶב גּוֹי בְּמַסּוֹת בְּאֹתֹת וּבְמוֹפְתִים וּבְמִלְחָמָה וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה וּבְמוֹרָאִים גְּדוֹלִים כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לָכֶם י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּמִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֶיךָ:
וּבְאֹתוֹת, זֶה הַמַּטֶּה. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְאֶת הַמַּטֶּה הַזֶּה תִּקַּח בְּיָדֶךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה בּוֹ אֶת הָאֹתֹת:
וּבְמוֹפְתִים זֶה הַדָּם. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר. וְנָתַתִּי מוֹפְתִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ,:
כשאומר דם ואש וכו' וכן בעשר מכות ישפוך מן הכוס מעט יין:
דָּם, וָאֵשׁ, וְתִמְרוֹת עָשָׁן:
דָּבָר אַחֵר, בְּיָד חֲזָקָה שְׁתַּיִם. וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה שְׁתַּיִם. וּבְמֹרָא גָּדוֹל שְׁתַּיִם. וּבְאֹתוֹת שְׁתַּיִם. וּבְמוֹפְתִים שְׁתַּיִם.

אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת
"V'ani hichbad'ti et libo." (Sedra Bo) (And I have hardened his heart.) We all believe in freedom of will, for it is the very foundation of belief. We believe that without this freedom of will, the very foundation of the religion would be shattered. As evidence, we find it in Sedra Nitzavim (Deuteronomy). "I give you the choice of 'good and life,' or 'bad and death.' I advise you to accept the good." In all physical aspects of life, G-d decrees and determines, except in moral life. Here, G-d does not interfere, for if there were no freedom of choice, the sinner would complain justly. Since there is freedom, a sinner should never despair because the gates of t'shuvah (repentance) are always open. That saying due to circumstance he had no choice is not mitigating. But, if the sinner can pollute himself, he can also cleanse himself. It is a narrow demarcation—a boundary over which one can easily step. 
Why did G-d intervene in Pharaoh's case? Maimonides declares that the whole concept of reward and punishment rests on freedom of choice. In this context, why then was Pharaoh punished? The first sentence of the sedra contains a contradiction, "Go into Pharaoh because I have hardened his heart in order to punish him!" Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish (Resh Lakish) engaged in a controversy regarding this statement. Rabbi Yochanan said, "The sinners quote this word in defense of their wicked doings, for it appears that Pharaoh was unable to do t'shuvah--he is not responsible." Resh Lakish says, "There are no mitigating circumstances. If it concerns the scorners, then G-d scorns them. G-d warns man once, twice, thrice, and if he refuses to answer then, G-d closes the heart of the sinner so that he shouldn't repent." That happened to Pharaoh. G-d warned him five times--not three (the first 5 plagues do not say, "I have hardened his heart.")--and he paid no attention. G-d says, "You have hardened your heart, I will increase your uncleanness." G-d takes away the freedom of a sinner, not at once, but only after he has been warned. The habitual sinner has no way back, whereas the incidental sinner always has the promise of t'shuvah, never is freedom of the sinner removed if the chet (sin) is incidental, as long as there is no repetition. The moment chet becomes normal practice, the sinner loses. In modern history, we found similar circumstances, for in France, if a man was a habitual sinner or criminal, he was sent away to an island--removed for good from society.
And yet, the answer cannot satisfy the Jew who prays on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Here, the concept is that the gates of t'shuvah are constantly open to the very last day of a person's life. No matter how he has sinned, even to the point of denying the existence of G-d, if he repents completely, truly all is forgiven. Nothing can stop t'shuvah. As for example, we have Nebuchadnezer who destroys the Beit Hamikdash, his great-great-grandson being the great Rabbi Meir. To further illustrate the power of t'shuvah, we found that the executioner of the 10 great martyrs asked if he would receive Olam Habah (a share in the world to come) if he removed the wet wool which was placed on one of the martyrs to prolong his agony when he burned. The answer was that he would receive Olam Habah, even such a person. However, there is a deeper meaning. G-d granted wisdom to man; He implemented reason and intellect in his heart in order to increase his salvation, or to protect him against evil and disaster. It is the ability to be divine.
There is a being called adam (man), but this particular being is not free. When the man receives chachma (wisdom) the charisma becomes a divine quality. Then, the man becomes free to protect himself against disaster. He only becomes free when he receives the divine endowment. It is ridiculous to say that G-d interfered with freedom of choice.
Ibn Ezra divides man into two types of beings. The first one is adam-the type of person before G-d gives man divine charisma or tzelem Elokim. It is up to man to accept it; if not, he can be an animal. This simple man is out to exist and to enjoy existence. All his interests revolve around enjoying himself. However, that does not mean that this type of person is a brute. On the contrary, he can be cultured, he has a set of moral laws and many objectives. However, his humanity is a very simple affair; it is wrapped up in a way for pleasure. As such, he doesn't have much choice or freedom of action. He cannot rebel against his own practicability. For example, in modern life we find it where manufacturers, business tycoons pollute rivers, streams, the environment despite the threat to life and despite that they understand it only too well. And they and their scientists deny everything, will fight all measures to suppress them, and will take their cases into court in an attempt to convince that what they are doing is all right; even though, they know they are polluting. Yet, their is no doubt of the possibility that their may be destroying them, and their very children, and their generations to come. What is it all for? It is for profit. They have only one norm-profit. For the military, it is pride. Don't governments, for instance, know that by exploding nuclear weapons they are releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere which can cause blood cancers, leukemia, which can kill them and their children? And yet, it is compulsive action-no freedom of will. This is adam.  There is the other personality, and this is the one who receives divine charisma, the divine personality. This man differs in that he has a group of interests which the natural man doesn't have; his is free. He has two frames of reference. Quite often, the natural man digs his own grave and destroys himself. An example is capitalism.
Especially during the first two decades of this century, capitalism became drunk with making profit. It oppressed terribly, such as the sweat shops of New York where the workers were paid two dollars a day, lived in the very building in which they worked (owned by the manufacturers), and was, in turn, forced to pay rent to the same man who paid her. Thus, in order for man to exist, he must know how to sacrifice. 
"Hichbad'ti libo" (I have hardened his heart). It is ridiculous that G-d discouraged Pharaoh from letting the people go. It means that he made the choice for Pharaoh very difficult!
Let us analyze the state of affairs as existed in Egypt at the time of the oppression of the Hebrews. Egypt was one of the two great empires of the world, Chaldea being the other. The people of the Egyptian empire did not starve, as we know to exist today in India, Bangladesh, Biafra. It manufactured the world's best cotton, linen, and made the fine things of life (not only necessities of life). Every commodity which a country that uses slaves manufactures is prosperous for the simple reason that they don't have to pay labor. The Egyptians built storehouses, had bumper crops and six hundred thousand slaves. The prosperity of Egypt was built on slavery!
Suddenly, two people appear with the request to let all the slaves go free. Pharaoh knew that the prosperity of his country, and the economy was built on slaves. He knew that it would collapse, and that there would be a complete dislocation. It would cause civil war and collapse. G-d made the circumstance. "Natural man" became frightened. Who will take over if you send them away? Thus, the significance of slave labor tipped the scales.
What if G-d hadn't hardened the heart of Pharaoh? He should have somehow informed Pharaoh that it is possible to be prosperous without slave labor. Thus, G-d didn't do. He didn't let him understand this fact. It is true that the economy may be incapacitated for a time, but it will recover. As examples we have the types of slavery which existed in America and in Russia under the czars where the masses were serfs to the few mighty. And yet, without the slavery in America, the economy not only recovered, but went on to greater triumph. 
G-d did not inform him of this, and it interfered with Pharaoh's decision. But, his choice was never interfered with. For example, it was easy to close a store in Lithuania on Shabbat, for even if it were open, the owner would not earn a dime. For the American Jew, especially at the turn of the century, it was much more difficult; it was almost economic suicide! But, was the Jew deprived of his choice? It was also a case of "hichbad'ti libo" (I have hardened his heart). One Jew lost job after job on account of Shabbat and capitulated. Others persevered to victory. He never lost his freedom of choice. Freedom of choice is not even taken away from the most hardened criminal.
Referring to the original discussion between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish, we find one important thing lacking with Rabbi Yochanan. He never had the experience of sin and t'shuvah. He had always lived a saintly life. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, on the other hand, originally was a sinner, rather an underworld personality who fortunately came under the influence of Rabbi Yochanan and rose to great heights. Rabbi Yochanan could not understand Resh Lakish's position, such as we may not be able to understand why a person turns to drugs or to alcohol. Therefore, Resh Lakish declared, 'Those that scorn are scorners." Every sinner, the first time, is warned by his conscience. If he repeats and repeats, t'shuvah becomes almost impossible, but it is always possible to open the gate. The key is in the hand of the sinner, the gates are never locked!
How was Pharaoh punished? The plagues are divided into three groups, by not necessarily the three polemics of the Hagadah. The first 5 plagues constitute the first group-dam (blood), tz'fardaya (frogs), kinim (lice), arov (noxious animals), sh'chin (boils). This group inflicted plain misery, a miserable situation to live with. The second group-dever (destruction of cattle and domestic animals), barad (burning hail), and arbeh (locusts)-was a destruction of economy. The third group—choshech (darkness or intense fear), and makat b'chorot (death of the first born). The choshech (darkness) may be interpreted as ignorance because slavery makes life very comfortable for the master, and the second objective of slavery is to become rich and opulent. G-d showed Pharaoh that the economy collapsed anyway, in spite of his stubbornness. G-d did not take away freedom; He just made the choice very difficult! 

 שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם וְאֵלוּ הֵן:
דָּם. צְפַרְדֵּעַ. כִּנִּים. עָרוֹב.
 "Bo el Paroh" (go to Pharaoh) is different from the wording used in the Torah in Sedra Va'era when G-d sent Moshe to confront Pharaoh for the first plague of blood at the Nile River. There, we find the word lech (which also means to go). Here, before the onset of the fourth plague of arov (pestilence), G-d said, "Place yourself before Pharaoh." When the word lech is used, it means meeting Pharaoh at the Nile; bo means, "Place yourself in front of him." The words bo or lech are characteristic of the messages.  We speak of people with two personalities. (There are people who are always sinning and always repenting. King Herod was such a one. He murdered sages and then redecorated the Beit Hamikdash and prostrated himself before G-d. A man of power should not be a dual personality; they must reconcile their contradictions. If the king wants to enjoy many good years on the throne, he must reside amongst the people. To be authoritarian does not mean to lack compassion. )
Moshe was told to approach Pharaoh as the emperor and also to approach "another" Pharaoh as a private person. When he approaches Pharaoh as the king, he met him at the Nile, the symbol of power in Egypt. "Address yourself to the power oriented Pharaoh at the source of power, Nile. Stop him; block him. Tell him there are forces stronger. Place yourself strongly in front of him and protest!" Then, we find the word bo used. "Go into the king in the palace when he is an ordinary man, a person, a father. Tell him how wrong it is to throw a child into the water. Tell him about Abraham, about morality. Perhaps he will respond." There is a spark of good even in the most wicked. We use the word bo when we ask someone to come closer. Lech means go, go away. In this case, the words lech el Paroh would seem to be of no sense. The Almighty who is ubiquitous is remote and close at all times. There is no difference; therefore, G-d can use bo and lech. When G-d told Moshe the first time, "Lech el Paroh," the voice originated near Moshe. One can never leave the Almighty, for He walks with man, and when man reaches his destination, he finds G-d. "Bo el Paroh," "When you come, you will find Pharaoh and Me." Or, it could mean, "I will go with you."

 דֶּבֶר. שְׁחִין. בָּרָד. אַרְבֶּה. חֹשֶׁךְ.
During the three days of darkness, they (Israel) could have destroyed the entire populace, certainly could have could have robbed the treasury. They, certainly, had many grievances. There would have been no resistance. But instead, they left it to G-d. Who taught them? Moshe! Consider during the night of the exodus, they could have taken vengeance. Instead, what did they do? They ate the korban Pesach and sang Hallel.
Thus, after the plague of darkness, the Egyptians realized how great Moshe and the people were. The people of Egypt started to change towards Israel before the requesting of jewels. It states that the women borrowed from their women friends because they were closer, and knew one another more intimately. After the ninth plague, however, we find man borrowing from his friend.
You cannot force people to love you, but you can command respect according to your worth. If there is respect, there will be no contempt; act in a dignified manner and it will precipitate respect. The Egyptian discovered suddenly that the slaves of yesterday were charming today. During the year of negotiations, they found Israel charming!" 
The man, ish, Moshe was great in the eyes of the officials and the common people. This respect built up in the year of negotiations. At the beginning, Pharaoh treated Moshe and Aaron with humor, almost contemptuously. Pharaoh declared, "Go mind your own business!" Later, the touch of humor is gone. Pharaoh realized that it was a serious business, but there was no reverence. Each time that a plague struck, it interrupted the economy. Just before the last, it is stated that Moshe was great in the eyes of the people. Moshe had ruined the Nile, the economy etc., and yet they respected him, and yet greater was the admiration. 
 מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת:
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הָיָה נוֹתֵן בָּהֶם סִמָּנִים:
ישפוך מן הכוס ג"פ:
דְּצַ"ךְ עֲדַ"שׁ בְּאַחַ"ב:

רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר, מִנַּיִן אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלָּקוּ הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת.
Egypt had highly developed its technology. Especially, Egypt had  domesticated the horse for use-especially for warfare. It is the first we find mentioned in history the use of the horse, the rider and the chariot for warfare. The horse and rider, therefore, was the might and power of the Egyptian empire. Countries that discover new weapons win wars, and it is interesting to note that from the time that Egypt arrived, 3000 B.C.E., until almost modern times, the horse has remained the means of conducting war throughout the world. England introduced the tank during the first war, and thus won the war. The weapon of the second war was the atomic bomb. 
"Sus v'rochbo, rama vayam" (the horse and the rider, G-d cast into the sea). We ask ourselves, "Is the throwing of man and his horse into the sea the power of G-d?" However, there is a deeper meaning. Whatever the secret weapon may be in its given era, it proves no deterrent to the Almighty. Whether the weapon is the horse and rider, the tank, the atom or hydrogen bomb, in the eyes of G-d it is as nothing. "Sus v'rochbo," whatever the weapon, He will cast it into the sea and make it as if it never existed. In the case of Pharaoh, the horse and the chariot was Egypt's exclusive weapon, manufactured by the government.
We find twice in the Torah in Sedra Vayigash, that Pharaoh instructs Joseph and his brothers to bring their father (Jacob) and their families. The first one is immediately after he hears of the brothers' arrival; the second is a few sentences later. The first time he merely gives a suggestion, but the second time is an actual command. "And now I command! Do this: Take for yourselves chariots from the land of Egypt for your children and your wives, and carry your father and come." The reason for the command was that the chariots and wagons could not be taken out of the land without an order from the king himself. Without Pharaoh's order it would be a criminal act. It is comparable to today where it takes an executive command or order to involve the movement of atomic weapons. Also, these chariots were to be used only for carrying goods, provisions etc.-not to be sold or given away. This is one of the reasons why the Torah states that when Jacob saw the agaloth (the wagons) his heart was revived, for he understood that Joseph must be close to the king.
[The rumor was heard that Joseph's brother had come and it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and the eyes of his servants. Why were they happy? Actually, Pharaoh had usurped his power by elevating a slave, a prisoner, to such a high position. The laws or constitution of Egypt specifically stated that a slave could not rule. Until the advent of the brothers and the disclosure of Joseph's family, Pharaoh's advisors were adamant in their demand that a slave could not rule. They kept objecting. Suddenly, Pharaoh had the answer to his critics. When they discovered that he came from the highly respected family of Abraham, it made a vast difference, for Abraham's influence was widespread, and even though they may have disliked him, they respected him.
What constituted Joseph's greatness? It was the durability in his personality. He was a tough practitioner-one who could dream and practice his dreams. He was a dreamer and at the same time an implementer. This was his greatness, and Pharaoh understood it and was greatly thankful to Joseph. Pharaoh envisioned eleven more brothers of this nature, and was extremely eager to have them in Egypt. It is a well known fact, that after both wars, the victorious nations had stolen the great scientists from the vanquished for their own benefit. Having the brothers would be to Egypt's advantage. Pharaoh never understood why Joseph never asked permission to inform his family, to bring his family, between the years of Joseph's ascension to power and the final revelation. Undoubtedly, Pharaoh was told by his advisors that Joseph had dual loyalties. The reason is that Joseph saw that Hashgacha (Divine) was planning something which he could not interfere with. 
Why was Pharaoh so excited at learning the news of the brothers? It is understandable that he might want the young people, but why did he say first, "Bring your father?" Certainly, he did not have in mind the creation of a moshav z'kaynim (a home for the elderly). It almost seems to indicate, "If Jacob comes you are welcome; if not then you are not welcome." Joseph must have spoken much to Pharaoh many times about his father, about life at home, and Pharaoh was enchanted and enlightened. Pharaoh had great understanding of spirituality, and he understood that Joseph's greatness was rooted in his father. Pharaoh felt that the "fertile soil" must be in Egypt or he would lose all the talent. Later, the mourning for Jacob was not merely ceremonial, but they felt they had lost a truly great man. They felt that something very great had been lost, an it was called the "Mourning of Egypt." Also, with Joseph and Jacob there was a movement in Egypt towards morality and high ideals in addition to strength and might. Later in history with "vayakam melech chadash" the arising of a new king, there was a revolution against the teachings and principles.
Why did Pharaoh instruct that the wagons were for the wives and children (other articles), but for Jacob the Torah states "unsosem" (and you shall carry him). This statement makes a great spiritual person of Pharaoh. Later, in the desert during the wanderings of the Israelites, we find that the children of Gershon and Merrari used animals or wagons to carry various parts of the Ohel Moed (the Tabernacle). The Holy Ark was carried on the shoulders! The connection is that if an ark had to be carried, a great human must also be carried!
 Rashi tells us that when Jacob saw the agaloth (wagons), his heart revived because Joseph left his home to visit the brothers, they were studying the section of the Torah from the conclusion of Sedra Shoftim which states that if a slain person is found without city limits and the murderer is unknown, the elders of the nearby cities come out and measure the proximity of the slain to the nearest city. Then the elders of that city bring a heifer (never used for work) into that rough terrain, break its neck and wash their hands over the heifer declaring, "Our hands have not shed the blood." Do we not know that the elders, the most highly respected, did not kill the stranger? It means, however, that a stranger, an unknown poor man came into the city and was sent away without lodging, without food, almost without regard. Had he been regarded and provided for, then perhaps he would not have been slain. If such a man was refused shelter, the heads (roshim) of the city were responsible. They did shed blood indirectly. (Joseph, when he sent his brothers to inform Jacob that he, Joseph, was alive, informed them to use the word agaloth as a key word and Jacob would remember what they studied together and would believe.) 
This parsha deals with Jewish responsibility. It is almost frightening how the Torah demands responsibility from a leader. It demands not only direct action, but indirect action as well. Jacob knew by holy spirit (ruach hakodesh) that Joseph would be a leader of unlimited power, and that is why he studied with him this section. It taught him how to be great, and in turn, Joseph informed his father, "I have never misused my power." ]

בְּמִצְרַיִם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר, וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים אֶל פַּרְעֹה אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִיא. וְעַל הַיָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר, וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָּד הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה י-ה-ו-ה בְּמִצְרַיִם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת י-ה-ו-ה וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בי-ה-ו-ה וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ. כַּמָּה לָקוּ בְּאֶצְבַּע עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה, בְּמִצְרַיִם לָקוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת:
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל אַרְבַּע מַכּוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, יְשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. עֶבְרָה אַחַת. וָזַעַם שְׁתַּיִם. וְצָרָה שָׁלֹשׁ. מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים אַרְבַּע. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה, בְּמִצְרַיִם לָקוּ אַרְבָּעִים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ מָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת:
רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ מַכּוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, יְשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ אַחַת. עֶבְרָה שְׁתַּיִם. וָזַעַם שָׁלֹשׁ. וְצָרָה אַרְבַּע. מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים חָמֵשׁ. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה בְּמִצְרַיִם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת:

כַּמָּה מַעֲלוֹת טוֹבוֹת לַמָּקוֹם עָלֵינוּ:
אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם
 What was actually the plan of G-d regarding Yetzias Mitzraim?  G-d told Moshe: “Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people go out for three days.  They will offer their Korbonos and will come back as usual.”  Pharaoh refused!  “Nirpin Atem”  -- You are lazy!   If you introspect, you find nothing about liberation of slaves.  It merely states a three day festival.  Pharaoh refused and so began a drama.  But what was the nature?  What if Pharaoh had complied?  What impression do you get when you read it?  What if he had said yes!  G-d could have taken them out in 5 seconds if He so desired.  Why the engagement of debates, the months of threats?  Apparently, they wanted to convince Pharaoh, to get the people out without coercion.  He waited a long time so that he, Pharaoh should realize that he is wrong and the people are right.  In fact, Pharaoh did realize but a little too late.  We find in sedra Bo, “You too will send your cattle along!”  What does Moshe mean by this?  It means, you will ask us to sacrifice for you and your nation!  You’ll join us.  You, Pharaoh, will become a “gayr” a convert and a “gayr” has to offer a sacrifice.  The “Yetzias” was not merely to take out the slaves and not the master.  This is why it says “You will give sacrifices (cattle) too!”  Had he done so, Pharaoh would have undergone the process of T’shuvah.  In the time of Bais Hamikdosh, the process of “Gayrus” consisted of “milah” (circumcision), “T’vilah” (immersion), and “Korban” (a sacrifice).  (Now it only consists of the first two.)  Therefore, Moshe says to Pharaoh, “You will entrust to us ‘Zvochim’ - sacrifices.  In other words, what was the objective of ‘Yetzias Mitzraim’?  It was not merely to take the Jews out but to convert the Egyptians.  Had this occured, “Melech Hamoschiach” would have come along.  Since it didn’t, the salvation is slow in coming.  Therefore, since he refused, he was in essence stupid.  Pharaoh is insensitive; he does not understand.  At other times, he did see the light.  “Perhaps I should convert not only myself but the whole empire.”
Therefore, in scripture it is written at times “M’chabad es libo.”  And at times “m’chazak”.  When it says “chabad” it means “he is hard headed (stubborn).”  When it is “chazak” it is encouraged - strengthened.  There are two types of sins.  One individual is “chabad” like a stone -- insensitive.  The other sinner is “chazak”.  He sees the truth but he has no courage.  This is why Pharaoh’s heart is described in two different terms.  At times, his heart was hard as a stone; at times, he tried to understand.  The mere fact that he didn’t lock up “those two old men,” Moshe and Aaron, shows that he had sensitivity.  Despite his initial outcry, “Who is G-d?  I don’t know him!”, he had an inward feeling that these two men are right.  But he didn’t have the courage.  The same applies to people I ahve known who have been intelligent, who have come to my shiurim but still were “mchalal mitzvos” - desecrated.  When I asked them why, they answered that they lacked the courage to face their families and declare their change.
However, Pharaoh made one mistake.  It was when his scouts returned after seven days to say that Israel had not returned, that which he thought would be 3 days.  The truth is that had Pharaoh let them go without coercion, it would have been 3 days.  But here there was no agreement and hence it was enlarged.  The same thing was regarding th 1948 war and the territory.  The Arabs never agreed so the territory was enlarged in 1967.  Otherwise, if they had agreed to the U.N. mandate, they would be justified.

, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ:
Unique to Egypt was the fact that they respected Moshe as a human being, not a super being. The Egyptians, being pagans, could have deified him, but the Almighty ruled a different relationship. They looked upon him, not as a G-d in a pantheon, but as an ish (a man). It was the first time in pagan history that a "man" was considered "great." Previously, their kings were considered as gods. However, Moshe and Aaron taught the Jews never to idolize any man, no matter how great. It was therefore later, when Moshe failed to return on time (their calculation) from Mt. Sinai, that they said in fear, "Ze ha'ish" (that man). They feared because they knew he was just a mortal man.

There are three aspects in the change of feeling of the Egyptians towards the Jews. 
(1) They saw Moshe's love and tenacity for the people. When Moshe was with the Almighty, he was the defender, with the people he was the accuser. 
(2) Humans pass the right to take vengeance upon others for wrongs committed upon them (to refuse to punish criminals is to turn society into a jungle). Two purposes of punishment are to punish for the  crime, and secondly, a catharsis to rehabilitate.  However, the catharsis rarely works.
Consider what would have been if Pharaoh had declared, "All right, go ahead," and the Jews had walked out. How about the years of slavery, the killing of the children etc., all would have been forgotten. They would have walked out with merely a thank you. This would have been the greatest tragedy! However, this depended on the Almighty. That is why it is written, "He will not let you out until I smite Egypt with all my wonders." Otherwise, it would have been comical. It was a lesson that human blood which is spilled cannot be forgotten. As long as people are not punished for crimes, there cannot be freedom. G-d wanted to teach Pharaoh that the Jews are not an abandoned race.
 (3) The conduct of the Hebrews themselves! During Greek and Roman eras, the populace was in great fear of slave rebellions. The rebellions were bloody as exemplified in more modern times, such as in France and in Russia. The feudals were always haunted by such occurrences, for slaves rebel at the worst times of crisis.
Pharaoh's own officers said, "Don't you see that the land is ruined?" His own prestige was in trouble because his officers spoke to him abusively-a far cry from the autocracy he held previously.
אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ:

   [the killing of the first born and the judgment against the Egyptian gods is linked because of the role of the first born in Egyptian society. adk]
Often, the first born are the most cruel to the younger ones. They often utilize their position to exploit the younger ones. Egypt was a patriarchal slave society based upon primogeniture. Each first born was a master of slaves. Why did G-d punish the gods? Because when you punish a nation you must punish its philosophy. (The entire Egyptian culture was one built upon primogeniture therefore the destruction of the first born was a defeat of the entire civilization.)
The tenth plague of Egypt was against the first born because they were all guilty of the crime called, "primogeniture" (exercising the power of the first born). In Egypt if a father left the house, the first born held absolute power of imprisonment and death over even members of his own family. It can be imagined then how they treated slaves such as Israelites. They were all guilty and worthy of death. G-d warned against the practice, and we find that among leaders of Israel the first born were not necessarily the leaders. For example, we find Moshe and David being the last in their families, and Joshua came from the tribe of Benjamin, the twelfth son of Jacob. Thus, G-d abandoned primogeniture. Each b'chor (first born) of Egypt was a tyrant and was guilty of enslavement
We (Israel) have recognized the unique role of the first born, not as power. Jacob was not interested in blessings of power. He was afraid that Esau should not be in line to his covenental destiny. He wanted to be in line. Actually refuting the theory of power to the first born, the younger ones almost always were the elected or the great ones.  Already, the patriarchal hierarchy was establish with Cain, the first born son of Adam and Eve. Even his name Kayin means, "I have established or purchased." The words of Chava were, "Kaniti ish et God." (I have purchased, or acquired, a man from G-d.) The word ish means here a "master." The text follows, "Vatosef laledeth" (and she gave birth again). This means that the second one already was not important to her; he would merely be a helper to Cain. This is exemplified by his name "Hevel," which in Hebrew means vain or foolish. Under these circumstances, he had no right to become a shepherd, but merely a helper--a farmer to Cain. However, he rebelled, he violated the social order.
In connection with primogeniture, the Torah completely abhors one person exercising power over another, and declares that Joseph, who was almost the youngest of the brothers, died first (before all of them) because he exercised power over them before the revelation even though he treated them better than they deserved.
G-d declares, "Kadesh li kol b'chor." (Sanctify to me all the first born.) They are mine and are not the ones to hold the all potent power. 
If this is so, why does the Torah declare that when a father leaves an inheritance, a double portion shall go to the first born? The reason for this is not because of extra power, but because a first born is a helper to his father. In many cases, he helps the father to rear the smaller ones, to help educate them with the knowledge he has acquired, and to guard over them. Thus, the father is allowed to pursue his work in order to earn a living. Thereby, the Torah rewards the first born with an extra portion, but it does not give him extra power.
The first born is a source of deep pleasure. The more precious the love, the more it belongs to G-d. G-d claims the first born for Himself because the parents enjoy him so much. Thus, on the night of the exodus, the Egyptian concept of first born (power) was defeated; the Hebrew version of (love) conquered. 
The first born received two portions. Regarding inheritance he becomes the "paternal" b'chor. It is a repayment because during his youth he carries the load and becomes the father's helper. At birth (Pidyon haben) it is "maternal" b'chor. In the paternal case the double portion inheritance is for the services he rendered to father especially in olden times when he helped the father accumulate wealth. In the maternal case, the b'chor not only opens the womb but opens the spiritual and emotional community--love. 

אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם
When one introduces a child as "this is my b'chor," what does it imply? It means that you have more children--this one is the first born one. The Plague of the killing of the first born is linked -  "Israel is my first born. Let him go or I will kill your first born."   When G-d said to Pharaoh, "Israel is my b'chor," it meant that He has other children--nations--and loves all his children. What is the role of Israel as b'chor (first born)? "You are my first born--I'm giving you the Torah--but don't think I am abandoning the world. You will be my messengers, my teachers," but "Li chol ha'aretz" (the whole world is mine). "I am not abandoning the  world. As b'chor you will have responsibility to teach."
G-d is prepared to accept any nation as long as they will walk along the laws. But the b'chor must teach. The older child is the greatest teacher to the younger ones because they can communicate. The mother and father belong to the "older generation." But, it cannot be said about the older brother and sister, for they are of the same generation.
Pharaoh did harm to the 600,000 Jews only, but by depressing the nation as slaves, he prevented Israel from assuming its role as the teacher. So, he sinned not only against the Jews but against the whole world. He prevented us from taking up our responsibility to the entire world.

, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם דַּיֵּנוּ:
Before Joseph died the Torah tells us that he asked his brothers and their families to promise to transport his remains together with theirs to Eretz Yisrael when they leave Egypt in the years to come. On further examination this was a most amazing request. Here was Joseph, the Viceroy of Egypt, who is capable of incarcerating and judging his brothers with a simple gesture, asking them to show him favor and transport his remains from Egypt! These are the same brothers who earlier were ready to accept the fate of being slaves to Joseph in retribution for how they treated him as a child, and Joseph must ask them for a favor? Why didn't Joseph ask his own children, Menashe and Efrayim, princes in Egypt, to carry out his wishes? Why didn't he ask that his own tribe take responsibility for his remains at the exodus?
Because the mighty Joseph realized that he is incapable of accomplishing on his own a most important goal: he cannot ensure his place in Jewish History without the help of his brothers. They had been distant and divided for so long. As long as his brothers would not accept him he would not be included in the Shivtay Kah. Hence his request of them to include his remains with theirs at the exodus. In order for his name to be inscribed on the breastplate worn by the Kohen Gadol, he had to accept the significance and role of the other brothers in the legacy of the Jewish nation. His greatness in Egypt would have been an insignificant footnote in history if he would not be included with his brothers among Shivtay Kah. Only his brothers could guarantee that. Joseph administers an oath to his brothers that they will include him, that they will elevate (Vhaaliysem) his status to that of Shivtay Kah by elevating his remains together with theirs from Egypt. To ensure this, Joseph bows and acknowldeges his brothers.
When was the other perspective of the dream fulfilled? When did the brothers bow before Joseph and acknowledge his contribution to Jewish History and the Jewish Nation? It was fulfilled many years later, on the night of the Exodus. The Torah describes the scene in Egypt, how the rest of the Jewish nation was accumulating gold and silver and fine articles in compliance with the request of Hashem to fulfill the promise of the Bris Bayn Habesarim of "And afterwards they shall leave with great riches". Chazal tell us that Moshe was nowhere to be found. Where was he? Moshe was searching for the remains of Joseph. Moshe took it upon himself to fulfill the promise the brothers made to Joseph many years before. Now, who was Moshe? Moshe was the grandson of Levi, Levi the enemy of Joseph, the co-conspirator with Shimon to kill Joseph that fateful day many years before. Yet it was none other than his grandson, the great Moshe, leader of all the Jews, who personally searched for Joseph's remains and who delayed their departure from Egypt until they were accounted for. At this moment when Moshe and the people refused to leave until they had retrieved Joseph's remains they bowed to his legacy and affirmed his significance and the role he played in the preservation of the Jewish nation. Moshe would not leave without the remains of the great individual who was immersed in Egyptian culture the longest yet blazed a trail to teach all Jews throughout our history how to survive in a long, dark and seemingly endless diaspora, how to live as a Jew through wealth and poverty. Indeed Moshe honored Joseph by personally caring for the remains throughout the 40 years wandering in the desert. Through his prolific grandson, Levi admitted his mistake and acknowledged Joseph's important role and mission. Could there possibly be a more fitting fulfillment of the dream of 11 stars and the sun and the moon bowing down to Joseph than Moshe and the entire Jewish People honoring Joseph on the night of the exodus? In the end, Joseph and the brothers honored each other, and recognized that each side had an equally important mission to fulfill.

While the others were looking to borrow gold, Moshe took the remains of Joseph with him. The Rav asked: on the night of redemption, didn't Moshe have anything more important to do than to search for the remains of a person who died hundred s of years beforehand? After all, Moshe was a busy man, why didn't he ask others to search for them? Also, Moshe had told Paroh that they were going out for three days to celebrate with Hashem. The act of taking Joseph's remains with them indicated that they were leaving permanently. So why did he insist on rocking the boat and demonstrating that they were leaving permanently and taking them with him? Because Hakaras HaTov for Joseph forced Moshe to act like this. Joseph always knew that the future of Jews and Judaism rests in Eretz Canan and not in Mitzrayim. Joseph showed them how to survive as Jews in exile. Moshe wanted to express Hakaras HaTov to Joseph on his own. He would not allow anyone else to take responsibility for fulfilling Joseph's request to take his remains with them when they are redeemed.

"And each woman shall ask from her neighbor and house mate silver vessels and gold vessels (V'sha'ala Isha M'shchenta Umigras Baysa)"(Shemos 3:22).
"Please speak to the people that each man should ask from his friend... ('Vyishalu Ish Ma'ais Ray'ayhu)" (Shemos 11:2-3).
The Rav ZT'L explained the different terminology used in these verses, in the first verse neighbors and house mates and in the other a person should request from his friends.
The term She'ayla throughout Tanach means to request or to demand something, not (in the simple definition) to borrow. When Hashem tells Moshe that a woman should request FROM her neighbors and a man should request FROM his friend, the connotation is to demand and take something away from them.  When the Torah discusses the laws of a borrower (Sho'el, Parshas Mishpatim) the term Ma'im (from with) is used. This connotes borrowing with an obligation to repay or return the item as the original owner retains his rights to the object.
Apparently the intent of Hashem was that the objects taken by Bnay Yisrael should be given to them without reservation (Matanah Gemurah, see Rashbam, Shemos 11:2). Why was it necessary for Bnay Yisrael to demand these things? Another obvious question is why did Hashem have to bring the 10 plagues on Egypt and Paroh when He could easily have forced Paroh to let Bnay Yisrael go much more readily and quickly?
The Rav explained that Hashem was manifesting the concept of "Kophin Oso Ad Sheyomar Rotzeh Ani", we apply force to someone until the individual in question comes to the self realization that what is demanded of him is correct and he expresses his desire to comply.
Hashem wanted Paroh to recognize on his own the need to send the Jews out of Egypt and to comply with the demand of Hashem. As Paroh said "Arise and leave from among my people, also you and also all of Bnay Yisrael" (Shemos 12:31). However the question remains: why did Hashem prolong the stay of Bnay Yisrael? Could Paroh not have been made to realize this in a shorter interval?
The Rav further explained that Hashem wanted Paroh not only to allow Bnay Yisrael to leave Egypt, but to come to respect them as well. As long as they were slaves, Paroh thought of them as sub-human.
Chazal say on the verse of "Who is Hashem that I shall listen to him" (Shemos 5:2) that Paroh searched through his chronicles and was not able to find the name of Hashem the Gd of Israel mentioned anywhere.
What Chazal intended to indicate was that Paroh did not consider Bnay Yisrael a bona fide nation, therefore he saw fit to enslave them. The 10 plagues were intended to show Paroh that Bnay Yisrael were a great nation, more so than to punish him and Egypt. Paroh was made to realize that they were not a bunch of insignificant Hebrews, rather they were a great national entity.  As the Torah says "And
afterwards he shall send you out" (Shemos 11:1).  It does not say I will take you out, rather Paroh will realize that you are a great nation and a significant entity and he will send you out.
Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.  This is best illustrated by the law that one may defend his home and property from clandestine thieves (Ba B'machteres), and to struggle to protect them even to the extent of taking the life of the thief. Property, material possessions, gives a man self esteem and self value. It also commands respect from others. On the other hand, a slave has no property of his own, for whatever he acquires belongs to his master. Hashem told Moshe that "When you shall leave, you shall not leave empty handed" (Shemos 3:21). Had Bnay Yisrael left Egypt without material possessions and wealth, they would have still been looked on as slaves.
Therefore Hashem asked them to demand from the Egyptians items of value as payment for their years of service. These items were to be taken from their neighbors and house mates, for they were the ones who had taken away their property and self dignity in the first place. (The Rav noted that when the Jews were liberated form the concentration camps after the Second World War, they went to the surrounding towns to retrieve their stolen property from the local populace who so eagerly took it from them.)
"And I will give the favor of this people" etc. (ibid) The Egyptians will come to see you as a nation, a people with dignity and no longer look upon you as slaves. Some might have thought that the Egyptians chased the Jews out of Egypt because they had become lepers. The Torah tells us just the opposite: that they left with tremendous self respect and dignity. One aspect of this self respect was their departing with great material wealth, Rechush Gadol. "V'nitzaltem Es Mitzrayim" (Shemos 3:22): Rashi explains V'nitzaltem as derived rom the verb to save. That is to say that you shall save something for yourself when you leave: you shall save your dignity and earn great respect in the eyes of the Egyptians. As it says that Moshe gained great respect in the eyes of the Egyptians and the house of Paroh (Shemos 11:3).
The Rav explained the different terminology between neighbors and house mates in one verse and friends in the other. The Gemara teaches us that the term 'Ray'ayhu' applies exclusively to a Jew. Hashem wanted the Jews to share the wealth among themselves. A Jew living in a more affluent Egyptian neighborhood would take more wealth from his neighbors than the Jew who lived in a less affluent area.  Hashem wanted the Jews to distribute the wealth more equitably. This was an extreme act of Chesed, charity, that bound the people and demonstrated their sense of a common destiny. Similarly, the Rambam writes (Matnos Aniyim 10:2) that "would not a brother take pity on his brother". If Jews do not look after their own brothers and take pity on them, who will? The different terminology reflects the desire that each Jew take possessions from their Egyptian neighbors and that they in turn should redistribute the wealth among themselves so that all Bnay Yisrael would enjoy equivalent wealth.  
After the Jews left Egypt, Hashem asked them to give up a part of their wealth to build a Mishkan for Hashem (V'yikchu Li Trumah) (Shemos 25:2).  A freed slave, who has had nothing of his own, finds it extremely difficult to willingly give up any part of his newfound possessions. To show that they were truly free men and women, Bnay Yisrael had to demonstrate their willingness to give up some of their own wealth for a higher cause. Bnay Yisrael answered this call, particularly the women, who were most eager to part with their finest jewelry for the sake of building the Mishkan of Hashem.  As it says that the women came forward with greater zeal than the men, "Vayavou ha'anashim al h'nashim" (Shemos 35:22).

Yad Chazaka (a strong hand) is the plague dever (smiting the cattle). It ruined the agriculture and the economic resources, such as horses and cattle. But the emptying of Mitzrayim took away the riches, leaving the land bankrupt, and showing that you cannot prosper from slavery. Egypt was famous for its manufactured clothes and its fabrics; the people should have worn these items, but they didn't. "You shall putt it on your sons and your daughters, but no display of the brocades and beautiful things on yourselves." G-d's intention was not to promote vanity, but to discipline the Egyptians. He did not want them to display it. "I allow you to place it upon your children!" A child is the most envious person on earth when he sees things on other children which his parents cannot afford to give to him. Children feel the pain! The children of Egypt had suffered pain, and therefore it said, "Place it on your children." These are the two purposes of the riches-punish the Egyptians and give your children an hour of joy.  Right after the giving of the Ten Commandments, G-d commanded them to build the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). The materials used were the very same materials taken G-d wanted from them the very items they took to demonstrate that they were not miserly. "Lift your eyes to G-d and be happy with what he gives you!" The people responded heroically. (February 1, 1975)

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם, וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם, וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ, וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ:
אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ:
"And Moshe and Aaron told Bnay Yisrael: in the evening you will know that Hashem took you out of Egypt. And in the morning you will see the glory of Hashem etc." (Shemos 16:6-7).
The Ibn Ezra interprets these verses to mean that via the events of the evening and the morning you will come to know that Hashem took you out of Egypt and you will see the glory of Hashem.
Rashi says that the difference in the presentation of the Manna and the Slav was related to the appropriateness of the request. The request for Manna was a legitimate request for a basic necessity, hence it was granted by day, representing a pleasant countenance (Bsever Panim Yafos). However the request for meat was a desire for a luxury, something they should not have asked for in the desert. Therefore it was granted at night, representing Panim Chashechos, a dark, less receptive demeanor. The Rav interpreted the first 2 verses of Bircas Kohanim in this manner. The blessings of Yevarechecha and Vyishmerecha can be granted in a way that is simple and easy for the recipient to accept. They may also be granted in a way that may be accompanied by some degree of hardship. The second verse of Yaer Hashem is the blessing that the Yevarechecha and Vyishmerecha just granted in the previous verse should occur Bpanim Maeyros, with a pleasant and shining demeanor, without any associated difficulties. Bnay Yisrael's request was also inappropriate in that they requested luxury before the necessity, "As we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread till we were sated". The Manna was  granted with Panim Maeyros (both Yevarechecha and Yaer) because it was a legitimate request for a basic staple, while the Slav, an out of order request for a luxury that was not necessary,  was granted with Panim Chashechos (with associated hardship, only with Yevarechecha).
The Ramban says that the difference between the Manna and the Slav was the ease with which each miracle was perceived. The Slav was carried on the wind, and to the untrained eye might have appeared to be an act of  nature. Only those that realized that this was a gift from Hashem appreciated  the miracle that occurred. Hence the use of the word Vyedatem, and you shall know or understand the great hidden miracle performed by Hashem. However the Manna was an open miracle for all to see as it was Yesh M'ayin, ex nihilo, all Bnay Yisrael realized that this was truly a miraculous event. Therefore the word Ureysem, and you shall see, the great miracle performed by Hashem for you, as the greatness of the miracle will be evident to all.
The Rav explained that Rashi's interpretation carries a practical implication for us all: one prays for that which he absolutely needs. One should not pray for frivolous things. Man has the right to pray for the basics. This is seen from the story of Akilas the convert who asked Rabbi Eliezer (Breishis Rabba 70:5)  if Hashem loves the convert why does He provide the convert only with bread and clothing?  Rabbi Eliezer answered that the convert is no worse off than Jacob who prayed for bread to eat and clothing to wear. Jacob prayed only for the basics. Our prayers should also be for the basics. The Rambam refers to Shemoneh Esray as the place where man asks Hashem to provide for his basic needs. It is inappropriate to request luxuries in the Amidah. The Rav said that King David (Psalms 131)  was careful not to ask for his personal luxuries in Tefilah. However, Klal Yisrael has no limits on what it can ask for [as long as it asks appropriately, which was not the case with the request for meat in Parshas Bshalach].
The Rav continued the thought of the Ramban regarding Erev and Boker.  Erev represents the time since the destruction of the Temple and our long exile. The time of Erev is most closely associatedwith Hester Panim, Hashem remains hidden from us and we must try very hard to find Him.
The untrained eye might assume that nature and the normal course of events are responsible for all that has happened to the Jews and the world during these years of Hester Panim. Only the discriminating faithful recognize (Vyedatem)  that everything happens only through the will of Hashem. In the time of Moshiach, when it will be Boker, all will see (Ureysem) the hand of Hashem and recognize His greatness.

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי דַּיֵּנוּ:
When we compare Shabbat as described in the Luchot in Shmot versus Devarim we find a number of discrepancies…

אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ:
Ezra enacted a rule that we should read the Brachos U'Klalos of Vayikra (Parshas B'Chukosai) prior to Shavuos and Brachos U'Klalos in Devarim (Parhsas Ki Tavo) before Rosh Hashonah (Megila 31b). The Rav asked: 1) according to our order of reading the Torah, Bamidbar is always read the Shabbat prior to Shavuos and Nitzavim is always read the week prior to Rosh Hashonah. Why do we deviate from the Takanas Ezra? 2) The Gemara distinguishes between the Brachos U'Klalos in Toras Kohanim and Mishne Torah (for example, in the Brachos U'Klalos of Toras Kohanim, one person reads the entire set, while the Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah may be subdivided among several people). Why is there a distinction between them?
The Rav explained based on a Rashi (Devarim 14:2). Ki Am Kadosh Ata L'Hashem Elokecha etc. Rashi explains Ki Am Kadosh Ata as Kedushas Atzmecha M'Avosecha, you possess inherited sanctity from your forefathers. However there is another type of sanctity that Moshe mentions, U'Bcha Bachar Hashem Elokecha L'hiyos Lo L'Am Segula. Rashi describes an amazing principle, that a Jew has 2 forms of sanctity, Kedushas Yisrael through Yichus M'avos. There is a second individual Kedusha granted to each Jew, Kedushas Atzmecha, based on our selection Bnay Yisrael Hashem.

The Rav asked what is the status of Meshumad? Does he retain complete Kedushas Yisrael or not? On the one hand there are sources in the Gemara that he remains a complete Jew (for instance his Kedushin is valid, see Yevamos 47b). On the other hand, there are other sources that exclude him from various religious tasks (Shechita, Kiesivas Stam and others, see Gittin 45b). (The Rav said that something held him back from saying that a Yisrael Meshumad retained full Kedushsa Yisrael.) Which Kedusha does the Meshumad lose?
The Rav said that the inherited Kedusha of a descendant of the patriarchs is irrevocable. However, the Rav felt that a Meshumad forfeited the second Kedusha that is based on the selection of the Jewish nation as the chosen people. A convert has both Kedushos, as the Halacha says he recites the Parshas Bikurim and he says Elokaynu V'elokay Avosaynu based on Abraham being called the father of a multitude of nations, Av Hamon Goyim. He has an inherited Kedusha from Abraham and he acquires the Kedushas Yisrael when he converted.
If there are 2 Kedushos by Jews, and every generation has these 2 Kedushos, they must be based on 2 separate Krisas Bris. Kedusha is based on the obligation to fulfill Mitzvos. The Rambam (Hilchos Mlachim 9:1) describes the observance of Mitzvos among the generations prior Mattan Torah as the historical map of sanctity among the Jewish people. Each higher level of sanctity could be attained only through the acceptance of additional Mitzvos. Even though they underwent Milah and Tevila in Egypt prior to the Korban Pesach and the Exodus, Bnay Yisrael needed an additional Tevila at Sinai. The Rambam says that since they attained new Mitzvos at Sinai, they had to undergo another conversion process. In short, Mizvos are built upon Krisas Bris.

A Jew has two distinct sources of obligation. The first is based on the original Bris at Mount Sinai that derived from the patriarchs and expressed through Moses. This covenant obligates all successive generations, through our lineage connection, Yichus, to fulfill the Mitzvos. There is a second Krisas Bris that is based on individual Kedusha and is entered into by each and every generation.
Where do we find these two covenants? The first KB is in Bchukosay and the second is in Ki Tavo. Why do we need both covenants? [Really there were 3 covenants, with the third at Mount Grizim. But that was a different type of covenant based on Arayvus, acceptance of mutual responsibility for fellow Jews.] Parshas Nitzavim is the continuation of the Bris in Ki Tavo (according To Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon). At Mattan Torah, Moshe read the Sefer HaBris while the Jews stood at Mount Sinai. What did Moshe read to them? Chazal tell us that he read the Torah from Breishis through the story of the exodus. The Sinaitic covenant was built on the exodus that was in turn built on the covenant with the patriarchs. In Toras Kohanim Hashem mentions that He will recall the original covenant with Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. In other words, the entire Sianitic covenant is based on, and is the continuation of, the covenant of the forefathers and transfers from generation to generation.

Therefore Shavuos, the holiday of Mishne Torah, is associated with the Brachos U'Klalos in Bchukosay that were given at Mount Sinai. Even though the Brachos U'Klalos are recorded in Bchukosay, they are referred to and are connected to Parshas Mishpatim, when Moshe sprinkled the people and read the Sefer HaBris to them. These Brachos U'Klalos were part of the Bris enacted with the patriarchs. We read Parshas Bamidbar prior to Shavuos, because the entire concept of Yichus, Jewish lineage, is based on Parshas Bamidbar. The entire concept of counting the people derives from the sanctity of the patriarchs and the lineage of the 12 tribes who trace that lineage back to Abraham. As it says in the Parsha, Lmishpichosam UlBays Avosam, Vayisyaldu Al Mishpichosayhem. Chazal say that each one brought his lineage documentation proving that he descended from the patriarchs and their children.

The different levels of sanctity attained by each of the twelve tribes was derived from their connection to the Kedushas Avos of the previous generations. This is the Kedusah of Ki Am Kadosh Ata 'Hasehem Elokecha. In Bris Atzeres read on Shavuos, we find the fulfillment of the statement Ki Am Kadosh Ata L'Hashem Elokecha, the sanctity of each Jew based on his lineage. The Midrash says on the verse Zeh Kayli V'anvayhu, that Moshe emphasized that the Kedusha did not begin with me, but rather it began long ago with my forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as expressed in Elokay Avi V'Aromemenhu. This is the essence of Shavuos, Mattan Torah and Brachos U'Klalos of Bchukosay. Ezra established that they should read about this covenant, the covenant that mentions the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt that led to Kabbalas HaTorah at Sinai, before Shavuos each year. How do I know that this covenant extends to subsequent generations? I would not know it from Parshas B'Chukosay alone. The Yichus, lineage described in Parshas Bamidbar teaches that the covenant also extends to me based on that Yichus.  

The covenant based on Brachos U'Klalos in Nitzavim was not only given to the generation that stood before Moses prior to his death. Rather, this set of Brachos U'Klalos was, and is, given to each and every individual generation. We are not bound to this covenant through lineage, or through the patriarchs. It is our own responsibility. As Rashi explains U'Bcha Bochar Hashem Elokecha, Hashem has selected you and endowed each generation with a Kedusha that is separate and distinct from the Kedushas Avos. Rashi explains the verse V'Es Asher Ay'nenu Po Imanu Omayd Hayom that the oath obligates the future generations of Klal Yisrael. Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel says explicitly that it binds all future generations. All succeeding generations stood before the Ark and Moses and accepted the oath to observe the Mitzvos of Hashem. Therefore Rosh Hashonah is a Yom Zikaron for Bris, not only for the Bris Avos but also for the Bris that Hashem makes with each generation. Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah must be read prior to Rosh Hashonah, however the story would be incomplete without also reading Parshas Nitzavim, since the connection to each generation, Lo Itchem L'Vadchem Anochi Korays HaBris Hazos, is not found in Ki Tavo, but rather in Nitzavim. Therefore reading Nitzavim prior to Rosh Hashonah is in complete agreement with Takanas Ezra, as it is the continuation of the Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah.

The Sinaitic covenant that was built on the patriarchs was a covenant created with the entire Am Yisrael. Everyone, each and every Yachid, is included and responsible, because each of us belongs to the Am, to the Rabim. Ki Am Kadosh Ata, the basis of the sanctity is the Am, the Rabim. That's why the Brachos U'Klalos in B'Chukosay are written in Lashon Rabim, plural, as it was given to the entire nation. However the Krisas Bris in Nitzavim was given in the singular form, to each and every Yachid. It is not just a Krisas Bris with each successive generation, but rather it is a covenant with each and every individual within those generations. Each of us stood before Moshe and the Ark and we accepted the oath administered by Moshe. Moshe is talking about each individual who might say in his heart Shalom Yihye Li, I will go my own way. Moshe warns that individual, that the retribution for such a sin will be great. He is talking to each and every Jew, throughout all the generations.

The Gemara has a concept Mushba V'Omayd M'Har Sinai (regarding Shavua Chal Al Shavua). We were bound by an oath at Sinai. What oath are we referring to? When the judges administer an oath to a litigant, they do so in the same way that Moshe administered an oath to Bnay Yisrael. This oath is given Al Daati V'Al Daas HaMakom (Nedarim 25a), as it says V'Lo Itchem L'Vadchem. We see in the Gemara that Moshe's oath was not based on the Krisas Bris at Chorev, but rather on the Krisas Bris at Har Moav. Yet the term is still Mushba V'Omayd M'Har Sinai. Why? Because we are obligated to observe what we were given at Sinai. An oath can only be administered to an individual, the Klal can't take an oath. If ten people take an oath, they do so as ten individuals not as a group. The Torah says Nefesh Ki Tishava, a Yachid takes an oath. That's why even though we refer to it as Mushba M'Har Sinai, it can only refer to the oath that was taken at Har Moav, where each individual accepted the oath to observe that which was given us at Sinai.

The Gemara (Megila 31b) says that the Brachos U'Klalos in B'Chukosay were given in the plural form and those in Ki Tavo were given in the singular form. (Gittin 60b) Rabbi Yochanan says that Hashem made a separate covenant with Bnay Yisrael to keep the oral law as it says Al Pi Hadevarim Hayleh Karati Itcha Bris V'Es Yisarel (Shmos 34:27). Rabbi Yochanan derives two things from this verse: Ksav Lcha Es Hadevarim Hayleh refers to the written law.  Ki Al Pi Hadevarim Hayleh etc. refers to the oral law. Hashem tells Moshe that He will perform miracles that will be seen by the entire nation of which he, Moshe, is a part. When it comes to the written law, Moshe was an individual just like the rest of Bnay Yisrael. There was no separate Krisas Bris with Moshe distinct from the rest of Bnay Yisrael. Moshe had the same obligation to perform Mitzvos just like the rest of Bnay Yisrael.

However with regards to Torah Shbeal Peh, Rabbi Yochanan derived two things. The first is that there was a special Bris with Moshe and the second that there was a separate Krisas Bris with Bnay Yisrael. Why was the oral law, which featured separate Krisas Bris for Moshe and Yisrael, different than the written law, where Moshe was no different than the rest of Bnay Yisrael? Rabbi Yochanan explains that originally the oral law was given only to Moshe. The written law was given to all at once. Moshe was a recipient just like everyone else, he had no greater share than others. Mesorah does not apply to the written law because it was given as one unit to all. However the oral law was given to Bnay Yisrael through Moshe. Zos Hatorah Asher Sam Moshe Lifnay Bnay Yisrael refers to the written law. All had an equivalent share in that Torah. Al Pi Hashem B'Yad Moshe refers to the oral law that was given through the Mesorah of teacher to student.

The Rambam says in the Hakdamah to Mishneh Torah that Pinchas, Elazar and Joshua all received Torah from Moshe however Joshua was his main student who received the tradition of the oral law from Moshe. When Hashem commanded Moshe to take Joshua aside as leader the Sifri says that he was to be given the Mesorah for the oral law. Pinchas received from Joshua, why did he have to receive it from Joshua if he already was a student of Moshe? We see that there is still a distinction among students in that only one is singled out to carry on the tradition. There can be only one Mekabel from Moshe the teacher, that one was Joshua. Joshua subsequently had the right to hand it over to his student, and he transmitted it to Pinchas.
Rabbi Yochanan said that the Mesorah was given to Moshe as the teacher of Israel and the Shalsheles HaKabbalah, from generation to generation, started with his turning it over to Joshua. The written law was given to all Bnay Yisrael, including Moshe. However the oral law was given to Moshe as the Rebbe of Bnay Yisrael and he had to hand it over to his students, as it says Al Pi Hatorah Karati Itchem Bris.

The Bris on the written law was consummated at Sinai. When was the Bris of the oral law consummated with the people? At Sinai the Bris for the oral law was only consummated with Moshe. It had not yet included the rest of Bnay Yisrael. When were Bnay Yisrael included? On the last day of Moshe's life, only after he completed his role as rebbe. After all, how could he consummate a Krisas Bris with them until he had given them the complete oral law? The written law is a Mchayev, a Mshabed, (it obligates). There is a direct obligation associated with its completeness that obligates the Jew to fulfill the Mitzvos. However at Sinai, Moshe was the only one who received the oral law. It would take the rest of his life to teach them the oral law before they could enter the Krisas Bris of Har Moav, the covenant of the oral law.

At Sinai, Hashem was the Daas Makneh for the written law. Hashem was also Kores Bris and Daas Makenh with Moshe at Sinai for the oral law. However 40 years later when Moshe completed his teaching and gave over the oral law, he was the Daas Makneh and the Kores Bris with Bnay Yisrael and each successive generation. That's why Chazal distinguish between the Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah and those in Toras Kohanim. In Toras Kohanim the covenant was between the entire Kahal and related to the written law that was given to all directly by Hashem. Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah are in the singular form because it was the Bris by which Moshe gave over the Mesorah for the oral law, a Bris that he alone had been given 40 years previously.

[Rosh HaShonah is the time that nations are judged, V'al Hamdinos Bo Ye'amar Ayzo Lacherev etc. It is also the day that each individual is judged, V'al Habriyos. Therefore we read Brachos U'Klalos in Mishne Torah in Ki Tavo and Nitzavim prior to Rosh HaShonah, to stress the centrality and importance of the Krisas Bris with the individual regarding the oral law as well as the written law.]

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּיֵּנוּ:
Yetzias Mitzrayim is more than a story that happened to our people thousands of years ago. It is still as significant and relative today as it was those many years ago.  The exodus was the preamble to receiving the Torah at Sinai. One could say that all 613 commandments are rooted in some way to Yetzias Mitzrayim and Kabbalas HaTorah. Often the Torah associates Yetzias Mitzrayim with Mitzvahs, for example Ani Hashem Elokaychem Hamotzi Eschem M'Eretz Mitzrayim. Shabbat as explained in the Aseres Hadibros in Sefer Devarim is rooted in Yetzias Mitzrayim. What is the guiding principle of the Mitzvahs that are explicitly associated with Yetzias Mitzrayim? For instance we are enjoined from acting as the Egyptians did.  The Torah tells us (Vayikra 11:43-45) Al Teshaktzu Es Nafshosaychem etc., don't defile yourselves etc. for I am the Lord your God, and you shall be holy for I am holy etc. For I am the Lord who has lifted you out of the Land of Egypt, and you shall be holy for I am holy. The Torah uses similar language  (Vayikra 18:3) Ani Hashem Elokaychem K'Maasay Eretz Mitzrayim Asher Yeshavtem Ba Lo Taasu  The Torah then commands us to follow "My laws, I am the Lord your God".  This is followed by a list of illicit sexual relationships. The general principle is that Mitzvahs where man is warned to discipline himself and refrain from over indulgence in corporeal desires are linked to Eretz Mitzrayim. Judaism recognizes and accepts that man is comprised of body and soul, intellect and desires.  Yet, Judaism's  approach to the body is one of discipline. The body must be more than a tool of the savage, brutish caveman. The Jew must refrain and retreat from Torah prohibitions even though the actions promise him much pleasure.  Engaging in such acts of pleasure ultimately defile man, therefore he must discipline his mind and subjugate his body to resist them.
Indulging in the eating of forbidden food items,  Maachalos  Asuros, as described in Parshas Shemini  and in forbidden sexual relationships as described in Parshas Acharay Mos, defile man. The Rambam grouped them both under Hilchos Kedusha. It is easier for man to enter a shul and pray for an hour with dedication and sincerity than to discipline his body. Judaism is interested in the disciplining of one's body through the conversion of physiological functions based on man's primitive drives into a service of the Almighty. The Rambam  (Hilchos Deos 3:3) concludes that man should strive to serve Hashem when he eats, when he sleeps. This is the fulfillment of the command Bchol Drachecha Daayhu, know Him in all your ways [and activities]. Find Him not only on Yom Kippur at Neilah. Recognize Him in your dining room, your bedroom, the boardroom and in the rest of your personal and public life.

אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל,
Let us examine the relationship between the Jew and Eretz Yisrael. The whole Eretz Yisrael experience, including that of the state and the political pressures that it faces, cannot be explained in normal historical mechanistic terms. Rather it is a covenant event. The commitment of the Jew to the land is not based on events that happened in the past as much as on a promise of a miraculous future when the divine promise will be fulfilled. In covenant history, the future is responsible for the past. Covenant events cannot be explained in terms of normal historical categories. You cannot explain in normal psychological terms the commitment of the Jew to Eretz Yisrael. It is an irrational yet unconditionally strong commitment based on the covenant promise.
The covenant has created a new concept of destiny. The word destiny conveys a notion of destination. The historical experience of the Jew is not based on the point of departure, but rather his destination towards which he is driving. The destination of the Jew is the ultimate eschatological redemption of the universe that will occur with the coming of Moshiach. The covenant is the force behind this destiny.
However, historical destiny can also be characterized by another trait, which is the contradiction of our historical experience. There has never been a period in history where the Jew lived a completely covenant existence. From the beginning of our history, Jews have always lived among non-Jews. Abraham lived among the children of Ches, he dealt with them in economic matters. The modern Jew is certainly entangled and integrated into the general society. Consequently we also share the universal historical experience as well. We have no right to tell society that societal ills like pollution, famine and disease are problems owned by the rest of society. These problems apply to the Covenantal Community
as well. The Jew as a member of humanity, as someone endowed with Tzelem Elokim, must contribute his part to the benefit of mankind, regardless of the terrible treatment accorded him throughout the ages. The patriarchs and matriarchs were buried together with Adam and Eve, the parents of all of society, in order to show that there is no gap between the Jew and the rest of society. There is no contradiction between laws based on human dignity of Tzelem Elokim, and laws based on the sanctity of the Covenantal Community. The Covenantal Community adds additional responsibilities to the Jew beyond those he already has based on his humanity.
The non-Jewish world finds it difficult to understand this duality and therefore view us as an enigmatic people. For example, they view our commitment to Eretz Yisrael as irrational because they do not comprehend the nature of the covenantal commitment that is the foundation upon which this attachment is based. The extra commitment that the Jew has that they do not share or understand creates existential tension between the Jew and non-Jew. Abraham described this tension when he instructed Eliezer and Ishmael to sit here while he and Isaac travel on to another point. The Jew and non-Jew have common cause up to the point of Poh, "here". However the Jew has an additional commitment beyond that of society. He cannot remain "here" as Abraham said. He must go further, to Koh, to fulfill his additional covenantal commitment and destiny. This tension is worth enduring in order to be the maintainers of the destiny and legacy of Abraham.

 וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ:
עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה טוֹבָה כְּפוּלָה וּמְכֻפֶּלֶת לַמָּקוֹם עָלֵינוּ. שֶׁהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם. וְעָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים. וְעָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם. וְהָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם. וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם. וְקָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם. וְהֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה. וְשִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ. וְסִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה. וְהֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן. וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת. וְקֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי. וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה. וְהִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. וּבָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה
78. beis habichira
Leaving Egypt culminated in standing at mount Sinai and accepting the Torah, the culmination of accepting the Torah was building the Mishkan. In a sense the naaseh vnishma was tantamount to the Erusin aspect of marriage. The people made the Golden Calf prior to the completion of the marriage the nesuin.
 Why does it say Chitui Chukei Chalev? At the time of Kabalas Hatorah there was Eirusin (betrothal) and we had to consumate the Nisuin (marriage). The people made the Eigel but the Nisuin was not
consumated till after the erection of the Mishkan. However there was no Sefer Krisus between God and Knesses Yisrael that would have nullified the impending marriage. It is the only Kidushin that is not subject to divorce. People who want to be intimate with each other go into a house. Just like God and Knesses Yisrael through the Mishkon. It symbolizes the shade and protection that a house normally provides and the initimate relationship between God and Knesses Yisrael. In human life many things can't be accomplished in public. This is Zevul, a hidden  place where not all can go. (Seethe prayer of Shlomo Hamelech when he dedicated the BEis Hamikdash as a Beis Zevul.) It is representative of the intimate relationship between God and Knesses Yisrael. An intimate place is needed because Tefila is an intimate act. In an intimate place man will say things that are private that he would not say in public. For instance the Kohen Gadol does the Avodah in the Kodesh Kodshim where no one else could enter because the Kohen Gadol must admit the sins of the people. This admission is an intimate act and requires privacy. This intimate meeting place between God and His chosen people was taken away from us.
 לְכַפֵּר עַל כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ:
רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל הָיָה אוֹמֵר, כָּל שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר שְׁלֹשָׁה דְבָרִים אֵלּוּ בַּפֶּסַח לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן:
The Rav noted that the Rambam (Hilchos Chametz Umatzah 8:1) refers to "Seder Assiyas Mitzvos Aylu" (the order of performing these Mitzvos) when referring to the order in which one fulfills the Mitzvos of the night of Pesach. The term "Seder" clearly applies to the topics discussed in the previous chapters in Hilchos Chametz Umatzah, where the Rambam mentions the obligation to eat Matzah, Marror, to relate the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim, Charoses, the 4 cups. The Rav noted that even though the Rambam does not dwell on the Mitzvah to eat the Korban Pesach in Hilchos Chametz Umatzah, which is dealt with at length in Hilchos Korban Pesach, he still mentions it in passing in connection with the obligation of eating Marror. Therefore the Rambam uses the term Aylu, which includes the Korban Pesach as well, even though he mentioned it only in passing.

 מַצָּה. וּמָרוֹר:

פֶּסַח שֶׁהָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אוֹכְלִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָּם עַל שׁוּם מָה.
Rabban Gamliel teaches us that one must recite the significance of Pesach, Matzah and Marror before eating them.
The notion that Matzah and Marror are included in the Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim can be seen from several areas:
Many Rishonim explain the statement of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azaryah that limits the time one may eat Matzah till midnight, which is the final time for eating the Korban Pesach, as also limiting the Mitzvah of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim to Chatzos as well.
The Ramban says (Berachos, Milchamos) that one who does not recite the statements of Rabban Gamliel prior to eating Matzah and Marror, lacks fulfillment of his obligation in the most acceptable way. In other words, he is missing the Kiyum of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim through the eating of Matzah and Marror. This is based on the statement in the Haggadah that one must recite these things at the time that Matzah and Marror are laid out before you.
We find a similar phenomenon by Chanukah. The Rambam began Hilchos Chanukah with the story of the victory. The Rav wanted to understand why the Rambam felt compelled to recount the story in the Mishneh Torah that is typically a book of laws. The Rambam could have simply said something along the lines of: "the 8 days of Chanukah commence on the evening of the 25th of Kislev. There is an obligation Mdivrei Sofrim to light and all that are obligated in reading the Megillah are obligated in Chanukah". Apparently according to the Rambam, knowing the story affects the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. If one lights the candles, without knowing the reason for lighting, something is lacking. Even though we hold that Mitzvos do not require Kavanah (specific intention), however they do require Yediah (some knowledge as to what is taking place). This Yediah is required on Chanukah, because Pirsumai Nisa is the main theme. Without knowing about the miracle that happened it is impossible to publicize the miracle and to offer thanks to Hashem for it.

עַל שׁוּם שֶׁפָּסַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל בָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח הוּא לַידֹוָד אֲשֶׁר פָּסַח עַל בָּתֵּי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְרַיִם בְּנָגְפּוֹ אֶת מִצְרַיִם וְאֶת בָּתֵּינוּ הִצִּיל וַיִּקֹּד הָעָם וַיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ:
אוחז המצה בידו ומראה אותה למסובין:
מַצָּה זוּ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים עַל שׁוּם מָה.
When we say Matzo Zu Sheanu Ochlim, we mean the Matzo that we are about to eat. Achilas Matzo is Mchayev recitation of Hallel. It has to come between the Haggadah and the Shevach. Therefore if I ate Matzah before reciting the Haggadah, it is no longer Lechem Shonim Alav Dvarim Harbeh, it loses the Kiyum of being bound with Sippur Y'tzias Mitzrayim. In order to fulfill Baavur Zeh Lo Amarti, I must eat Matzah between the 2 halves of the Haggadah, Sippur Y'tzias Mitzrayim and Shevach Vhodaah.

 עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹּא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּגְאָלָם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם עֻגֹּת מַצּוֹת כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ כִּי גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ וְגַם צֵדָה לֹא עָשֹוּ לָהֶם:
אוחז המרור בידו ומראה אותו למסובין:
מָרוֹר זֶה שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים עַל שׁוּם מָה. עַל שׁוּם שֶׁמָּרְרוּ הַמִּצְרִים אֶת חַיֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרָיִם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַיְמָרְרוּ אֶת חַיֵּיהֶם בַּעֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה בְּחֹמֶר וּבִלְבֵנִים וּבְכָל עֲבֹדָה בַּשָּׂדֶה אֵת כָּל עֲבֹדָתָם אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ בָהֶם בְּפָרֶךְ:
בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָיִם.
One is obligated to view himself as if he himself had left Egypt. When a Jew fulfills Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim he must do it as if he were giving eye witness testimony to an event, Haggadas Aydus, where personal experience is the root of his belief in his testimony and what spurs him to come to Beis Din to testify. There is a principle in Hilchos Aydus that a person who has second hand knowledge of  a situation, Ayd Mpi Ayd, is not accepted as a witness. When the father teaches his child about Yetzias Mitzrayim, he must do it as a witness testifying to what he himself experienced. He must breathe life into the events and make them come alive for the child so that he feels the excitement of the exodus. He must not portray the stories as events that happened thousands of years ago, events that have no connection to us today.  This is why the we call it Haggadah, for it is similar to Haggadas Aydus, in that we give testimony this night to the events that affect us today as much as when they occurred years ago.
In fact, this characteristic of Haggadas Aydus, of reliving the past and identifying with events that occurred years ago, as if they were occurring now for the first time, is a uniquely Jewish characteristic. The Rav bemoaned the way that Chumash is taught in American Yeshivos. Students do not relive the events of the past. They do not accompany Avraham and Isaac on their trip to Mount Moriah, they do not feel the moment when Avraham is prepared to sacrifice his son on the altar. The students are not taught to feel a special closeness to the patriarchs. The Rav said that the educators are at fault for not inspiring their students. 

The statement Bchal Dor Vador, that in every generation the Jew must view himself as a participant in the event, applies to many situations besides Pesach. For example, Tisha Bav eve, we eat the Seudah Hamafsekes where meat and wine are forbidden. Chazal required the Jew to act as an Onen, someone who is preoccupied with the burial of a loved one. Chazal restricted what we may do on Tisha Bav because the Jew must feel the reality of the Churban and the grief that it has brought the Jewish nation.  The sense of loss is so great that we do not put on Tefillin until the afternoon. No other nation relives its history or its grief in such a personal way to the point of accepting responsibility for it, as Chazal say any generation that does not rebuild the Beis Hamikdash is guilty of its destruction. When Tisha Bav comes and the Beis Hamikdash has not yet been rebuilt we see again the Holy of Holies in flames and we feel once more the anguish of those that were massacred. And we assume  guilt for causing the tragedy. 

Another example the Rav mentioned is that on Shavuos we read the story of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai with the Taam Elyon (upper cantillation notes) . Taam Elyon delineates units while Taam Tachton separates verses.  On Shavuos we reenact the Kabbalas Hatorah, as if were receiving the 10 Commandments from Hashem  right now. We bear witness, as participants in the singular event that bound us to Hashem forever and has shaped and defined  our destiny of sadness and greatness throughout the generations. All of Jewish History must be relived by us in a way that qualifies us to provide Haggadas Aydus and not simply to tell a story. [The Rav said that teachers today tell stories to their students. They do not give testimony to their students. He credited his first teacher for instilling in him such strong feelings and emotions to Torah that made him feel like an eye witness to the events that he studied about.]

Haggadas Aydus for the Jew is bound up with the concept of Midas Hachesed, attribute of kindness. There are 3 concepts of righteousness. Mishpat is justice according to the letter of the law. Tzedakkah and Chesed go beyond the letter of the law, the Baal Chesed acts the same way that a Baal Tzedakah does. The difference between them lies in the motivation that drives them to act. The Baal Chesed is called a Nediv Lev while the Baal Tzedakkah is called Nesao Rucho.  The latter helps people because it appeals to him intellectually to help. Even a miser can teach himself to be generous when he sees someone in dire need. The intellect understands that if he has been given great wealth he has an obligation to help others that are less fortunate. The Nediv Lev gives charity because he empathizes with the one in need, he feels his pain and anguish as if it were his own. He can't sleep at night knowing that another person is  in distress.

The Midrash Eicha comments on the verse Bacho Sivkeh Balayla, that the cries of a person travel farther at night when there is less sound interference than during the day. The Gemara in Sanhedrin relates the story of a widow who lived in the neighborhood of Rabban Gamliel who would cry all night for her son who was killed in the Churban. Rabban Gamliel heard her cries and would weep together with her, to the point that he caused his eyelashes to fall out. What was so special about Rabban Gamliel's actions? Presumably others heard her cries as well and felt sympathy for her? While others may have heard her cries and wept with her for one night, for a week, or perhaps even a month, their intellect told them that the time had come for them to move on and to shut out her cries. These people were Nesao Rucho. However Rabban Gamliel continued to cry along with her, he could not console himself if the widow was still bereft with grief. He was  a Nediv Lev. A Nediv Lev like Rabban Gamliel is capable of reliving the grief of the Churban on Tisha Bav as if it just happened. He is also able to relive the ecstasy of the exodus from Egypt on the night of Pesach as if he himself was a leaving Egypt at that minute.

In summary, the Jew must be capable of suspending his intellect and to sometimes view the world through the eyes and emotions of a child. An adult tells a story without showing any attachment or emotion. A child relives every part of a story no matter how many times he may have told the story.  He trembles with the fear and exults in the joy of the event, each time as if the event was happening to him at that moment.  The Rav said that this was the greatness of Gedolei Yisrael. Reb Chaim Brisker was a genius in Torah as well as, and perhaps an even greater genius, in charity and kindness. Despite the great scholarship of Reb Chaim and his amazing ability to think abstractly and classify and refine concepts and ideas, he still retained the dedication and zeal of a child as seen through his strong faith in Hashem. Reb Chaim told his son that a Rabbi must be a Ball Tzedakkah and a Baal Chesed.  He must be capable of constant empathy for those in need. He must also be able to suspend his intellectual approach to the world and relive Jewish life and Jewish history through the eyes of a child, as a witness who participated in a great event.

שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה י-ה-ו-ה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם. לֹא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶלָּא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל עִמָּהֶם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם לְמַעַן הָבִיא אוֹתָנוּ לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ:
יאחז הכוס בידו ויכסה המצות ויאמר:
לְפִיכָךְ אֲנַחְנוּ חַיָּבִים לְהוֹדוֹת לְהַלֵּל לְשַׁבֵּחַ לְפָאֵר לְרוֹמֵם לְהַדֵּר לְבָרֵךְ לְעַלֵּה וּלְקַלֵּס לְמִי שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ אֵת כָּל הַנִּסִּים הָאֵלּוּ.
One of the interesting aspects of the Seder is how the Hallel is split into two parts The first 2 sections are recited at the conclusion of Maggid while the remainder is recited after Bircas Hamazon. Why separate the sections of Hallel on the night of Pesach when we never make such a separation at any other time in the year that we recite Hallel? Why leave some of it for recitation over the fourth cup? What is unique or special about the 2 sections we include in Maggid relative to the rest of Hallel?

The Rav explained that the first 2 sections are completely dedicated to thanksgiving and praise of God. It is void of any request or petition on the part of man to God. These sections mention the selection of Bnay Yisrael as the chosen nation. They fit comfortably into the context of the Haggadah section. The remaining\ sections of Hallel introduce supplication together with praise. For example, the chapter of Min Hamaytzar juxtaposes the verses Zeh Hayom with Ana God Hoshiya Na, praise with supplication. The focus of these verses is that although we have been delivered and we rejoice on this day, we can't escape the fact that we are not completely free. There are still enemies that surround and threaten us and we pray to God for salvation. In the section of Lo Lanu, we express the greatness of God but we juxtapose it with the scoffing of the nations of the world mocking us to point out the location of God. Similarly, the themes of praise and supplication can be seen in the section of Ahavti. This juxtaposition of praise and supplication is noted in the Mishna as the format of praying to God. We express gratitude for the past and supplication for the future. Man is never secure. Happiness today does not guarantee happiness tomorrow.

Hallel is split up on the night of Pesach because after we tell the story
Of the exodus, we have an obligation to praise God in a format that is complete praise without any petition. We suspend our normal method of prayer, removing all non-praise elements. We do not exclaim Zeh Hayom Asah God in the Maggid section, which would appear to be very appropriate at this point on the night of great joy, because it continues with the petition of Ana God. We focus at this point completely on the praise of God which is the theme of the first 2 chapters of Hallel.
The conclusion of Hallel, recited over the fourth cup, is a mixture of Joy with an outcry of pain. Tefila plus Shevach. At the very moment we reach the height of joy we cry out in pain. The structure of Hallel is dialectical in approach: the happy Jew followed by the desperate Jew. These sections are specifically chosen for the fourth cup, because they do not mention the exodus from Egypt, rather they refer to our pain and longing for the ultimate redemption that will come with Moshiach. We express this yearning even though we are in a celebratory mood this evening. The fourth cup is devoted to the idea that in the Messianic Period, all pledges on the part of God to Bnay Yisrael will be fulfilled.
 Once we noted God’s benevolence in the sippur we become obligated to at least start the Hallel otherwise we would be guilty of kafu tov therefore we can not delay, on the other hand there are mitzvoth which need to be performed, therefore all of Hallel is not said either.
Too concise

Why not recite all of Hallel after Matzah? Since we say Lfikach Anachnu Chayavim Lhodos, once the Jew says that he is obligated to praise Hashem because of all the wonders He performed for us as described in Sippur Y'tzias Mitzrayim, the Jew cannot delay the recitation of Hallel. After all how would it appear if the Jew described all these wonderful things that happened not only to our forefathers but to us as well (Lanu Vlaavosaynu) without expressing a "thanks" to Hashem! We don't want to be Kfuyei Tova, show a lack of appreciation! So we say the initial parts of Hallel and recite the concluding blessing of Asher Gealanu Vgaal Avosaynu to show that we appreciate the impact of Hashem's miracles on us as well as our forefathers. Therefore we have to say (at least) Miktzas Shirah for this. What constitutes Miktzas Shirah is a Machlokes between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel, whether it is one or two Parshios of Hallel.
The Division of Hallel
The Rav explains why the first two chapters of Hallel are recited before the meal and the rest of Hallel is recited after the meal.  He notes (see Pesachim 108a for a basis for this assertion) that before the meal we should feel as if we were just redeemed from Mitzrayim.  After the meal, the mood is one of reflecting on the fact that we have been redeemed in the past.  Accordingly, before the meal we engage in Hodayah, an expression of thanks to Hashem for redeeming us from Egypt.  Hodaya may be offered only by someone who experienced the redemption and thus may be expressed only before the meal.  Shevach (praise) on the other hand, may be offered even by someone not involved in the event.  After the meal, we can no longer thank Hashem for redeeming us (as at that point we no longer feel as if we were redeemed), so instead we express Shevach to Hashem for what He did for us in the past.  The Rav explains that the first two chapters of Hallel are expressions of Hodaya and are thus appropriate to recite before the meal.  The subsequent chapters are only expressions of Shevach and thus are appropriate for recitation only after the meal. rcj rhs mph

"Ashira L'Hashem Ki Gao Ga’ah”. Rashi’s first interpretation is to mention the Targum Unkelus, who explains the verse as “I will sing to Hashem because (or since) he is above all”.  Rashi adds an additional interpretation: the praise that is appropriate to offer Hashem is infinite and due to human limitations it is always incomplete, as opposed to a mortal king who is praised even though he is found wanting of deeds and not deserving of praise.
 According to the second interpretation offered by Rashi, Moshe was indicating that Bnay Yisrael lacked sufficient praise to offer Hashem. This is the same concept found in the Gemara (Megilla 25a) that restricts our praise of Hashem in our Tefilah to Ha’kel Hagadol Hagibor V’hanora. This limitation is so stringent that anyone who adds praises of Hashem beyond that which the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah established is viewed negatively based on the verse L’chah Dumiah Tehila (Megilla 18a).

The second interpretation of Rashi defines the word Ki as “even though”, or “despite” (similar to the use of Ki Karov Hu, that Hashem did not lead Bnay Yisrael through the Land of Plishtim EVEN THOUGH it was closer). The Passuk is saying that I will sing to Hashem EVEN THOUGH he is exalted above all and I can’t possibly sing all His praises. Based on the above mentioned restriction that limits the praise we may offer Hashem, how did Bnay Yisrael and Moshe have the right to offer the additional praise of Shiras Hayam?
The Gemara (Megilla 25a, Berachos 33b) says that had the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah not incorporated the words Ha’kel Hagadol Hagibor V’hanora into our Tefilos, we would not have been able to utter these words of praise of Hashem either. Their right to incorporate these words was based on Moshe using these words in praise of Hashem (Devarim 10:17). However we still need to understand the fundamental source of permission (Mattir) to pray, on which even Moshe relied to utter these praises.
The Rav offered 3 explanations of the Mattir of Shira, each derived from Shiras Moshe (Note: The Rav used Tefilah and Shira interchangeably in much of this shiur):
The first explanation is based on the Rambam (Note: The Rav mentioned Hilchos Berachos but did not specify the  Halacha. See 1:3.). Man has an instinctive need to give thanks and recognition to someone who performs an act of kindness towards him. As pertains to Hashem, this natural urge is translated into praise to Hashem for all His acts of kindness that He does for man on a continuous basis.  Limited man is generally enjoined from praising Hashem because  he can not complete the praises of Hashem. However, Moshe and Bnay Yisrael at that moment on the banks of the Yam Suf were incapable of controlling their need to sing the praise of Hashem  for His many miracles and acts of kindness towards them. There was an urge for Bnay Yisrael to recite Shira and thank Hashem that could not be stifled (similar to the uncontrollable urge felt by Joseph when he revealed himself to his brothers).
This uncontrollable need to thank Hashem is also the basis of permission (Mattir) for our Tefilos in general. Man is distinguished from the animal kingdom by his ability and need to pray. Even though man recognizes the inadequacy of his Tefilos, even before he offers them (Ki Gaoh Gaah), he instinctively must offer them anyway (Azi Vzimaras Kah). This uncontrollable need to thank Hashem serves as the Mattir for Shira and Tefilah.
The Rav offered a second suggestion as to what is the Mattir for Shiras Hayam: How did Moshe know that Shira is permissible? Shiras Hayam required a precedent. Moshe had a tradition from father to son back to Avraham Avinu, that the Jewish Nation is a people that offers prayer and praise to Hashem in times of need and times of joy.  The Gemara (Berachos 26b) says that our fore-fathers established the various Tefilos that we have. The intention of the Gemara is not merely to present a history lesson. Rather, it is to show us that because they established the Tefilos (Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv), we too are permitted to pray accordingly. As Moshe mentioned in the Shira, Elokay Avi V’aromimenhu, just as my fore-fathers before me offered Shira to Hashem, so too will I.
The Rav offered a third possibility as to what is the Mattir for Shira based on the Rambam (Note: Source believed to be Moreh Nevuchim). As mentioned in the Gemara (Megilla 25a), only one who is capable of reciting all the praises of Hashem may praise Him (Mi Y’mallel Gevuros Hashem Yashmia  Kol Tehilaso, Tehillim 106:2). This of course is impossible for mortals. Yet the prophets often revealed the praise of Hashem (e.g. Rachum Vchanun). These revelations were intended to teach us the ways.

 הוֹצִיאָנוּ מֵעַבְדוּת לְחֵרוּת, מִיָּגוֹן לְשִׂמְחָה, וּמֵאֵבֶל לְיוֹם טוֹב, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹר גָּדוֹל, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה, וְנֹאמַר לְפָנָיו שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה הַלְלוּיָהּ:
There are also Kiyumim of Shira that we recite without a Kos. For example, Hallel on Yom Tov is a Kiyum Shira. Also the Kedusha that we recite 3 times daily is a Kiyum Shira. When we say Kshem Shemakdishim Oso Bshmay Marom, we refer to the Shira recited by the angels in heaven. We try to emulate them and also express Shira to Hashem. Chazal held that this Shira recited by the angels is connected to the Shira recited by Yisrael, for the angels cannot recite Kedusha until Yisrael recite their Shira.  Apparently Chazal felt that the Kedusha in Shmoneh Esray is a Kiyum of Shira, just like that contained in Az Yashir Moshe.

יניח הכוס מידו ויגלה המצות:
חסר הַלְלוּיָ-ה
I am very particular that the cantor does not repeat the words of prayer twice or more. However, this applies only to repetition of the Amidah and blessings related to Shema or Hallel or verses from Scripture, even though they do not form part of the obligatory prayer. With regard to piyyutim and other words of ritzui, that do not make up the body of prayer or of Shema and which do not cite Scriptural verses, one need not be concerned.

הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי יְדֹוָד יאהדונהי. הַלְלוּ אֶת שֵׁם יְדֹוָד יאהדונהי:
יְהִי שֵׁם יְדֹוָד יאהדונהי מְבֹרָךְ. מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם:
מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד מְבוֹאוֹ. מְהֻלָּל שֵׁם יְדֹוָד יאהדונהי:
רָם עַל כָּל גּוֹיִם יְדֹוָד יאהדונהי. עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם כְּבוֹדוֹ:
מִי כַּידֹוָד יאהדונהי אֱלֹהֵינוּ. הַמַּגְבִּיהִי לָשָׁבֶת:
הַמַּשְׁפִּילִי לִרְאוֹת. בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
מְקִימִי מֵעָפָר דָּל. מֵאַשְׁפֹּת יָרִים אֶבְיוֹן:
לְהוֹשִׁיבִי עִם נְדִיבִים. עִם נְדִיבֵי עַמּוֹ:
מוֹשִׁיבִי עֲקֶרֶת הַבַּיִת אֵם הַבָּנִים שְׂמֵחָה הַלְלוּיָהּ:

בְּצֵאת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם. בֵּית יַעֲקֹב מֵעַם לֹעֵז:
הָיְתָה יְהוּדָה לְקָדְשׁוֹ. יִשְׂרָאֵל מַמְשְׁלֹתָיו:
הַיָּם רָאָה וַיָּנֹס. הַיַּרְדֵּן יִסֹּב לְאָחוֹר:
הֶהָרִים רָקְדוּ כְאֵילִים. גְּבָעוֹת כִּבְנֵי צֹאן:
מַה לְּךָ הַיָּם כִּי תָנוּס. הַיַּרְדֵּן תִּסֹּב לְאָחוֹר:
הֶהָרִים תִּרְקְדוּ כְאֵילִים. גְּבָעוֹת כִּבְנֵי צֹאן:
וחסר בְּצֵאת יכסה המצות ויקח הכוס בידו ויאמר:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר גְּאָלָנוּ וְגָאַל אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְהִגִּיעָנוּ הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה לֶאֱכָל בּוֹ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר. כֵּן י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ יַגִּיעֵנוּ לְמוֹעֲדִים וְלִרְגָלִים אֲחֵרִים הַבָּאִים לִקְרָאתֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם, שְׂמֵחִים בְּבִנְיַן עִירֶךָ, וְשָׂשִׂים בַּעֲבוֹדָתֶךָ, וְנֹאכַל שָׁם מִן הַזְּבָחִים וּמִן הַפְּסָחִים (במוצ"ש אומרים:
מִן הַפְּסָחִים וּמִן הַזְּבָחִים) אֲשֶׁר יַגִּיעַ דָּמָם עַל קִיר מִזְבַּחֲךָ לְרָצוֹן וְנוֹדֶה לְךָ שִׁיר חָדָשׁ עַל גְּאֻלָּתֵנוּ וְעַל פְּדוּת נַפְשֵׁנוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת כּוֹס שֵׁנִי שֶׁל אַרְבַּע כּוֹסוֹת. לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
ושותין בהסבת שמאל:
רָחְצָה נוטל ידיו לסעודה ומברך:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם:
מוֹצִיא מַצָּה יקח שלש המצות בידו ויאמר:
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת אֲכִילַת מַצָּה לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
ויבצע כזית מן המצה העליונה לשם המוציא וכזית מהפרוסה לשם מצות מצה, ויאכלם מיד בלי הפסק בהסיבה. ויזהר שלא ישיח בין הברכה לאכילת הכריכה:
Held all three for first bracha, second bracha leave the bottom one hold one and a half
Rav Chaim followed the Shla Hakadosh and didn’t speak during the meal to include the afikoman in the bracha.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה:
מָרוֹר יקח כזית מרור ויטבול בחרוסת ויאכלנו בלא הסיבה:הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת אֲכִילַת מָרוֹר לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מָרוֹר:
כּוֹרֵךְ יקח כזית מן המצה השלישית וכזית חזרת עמה ויאכל שתיהן ביחד בהסיבה ובלא ברכה, ומקודם יאמר:
All Rishonim agree that Matzah must be eaten in a leaning position. If a person did not lean while eating Matzah he must repeat it again. Since the person has obviously fulfilled the obligation to eat Matzah on the night of the fifteenth, why must he repeat the Mitzvah again? Because in order to fulfill the additional requirement of eating Matzah as part of Sipur Yetziat Mizrayim, he must eat the Matzah while reclining. 

זֵכֶר לְמִקְדָּשׁ כְּהִלֵּל. כֵּן עָשָׂה הִלֵּל. בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָּם הָיָה כּוֹרֵךְ פֶּסַח מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר וְאוֹכֵל בְּיַחַד לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרוֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ:
שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ אוכל ושותה כל צרכו לכבוד יו"ט, ונוהגין לאכול ביצה:
צָּפוּן יקח שני כזיתים ממצה ששמר לאפיקומן, זכר לפסח הנאכלת על השובע, ואוכלו בהסיבה, ומקודם יאמר:
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָּן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת אֲכִילַת אֲפִיקוֹמָן לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
בָּרֵךְ מוזגין כוס שלישית ומברכין עליה ברכת המזון כדין ויאמר:
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָךְ, לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:

We are generally more familiar with using a cup for Bircat Hamazon on Pesach by the seder, but anytime one recites bircat Hamazon with a cup of wine we are fulfilling a “kiyum of shira” this is true of Kiddush and Havdalah as well, it is a Kiyum of Shira, as Shira requires Kos. The Rambam says that even according to the opinion that Birkas HaMazon does not require Kos, he agrees that if one did use a Kos for Birkas HaMazon he fulfills a Kiyum of Shira. Hence there is the Chalos, effect, of Shira Al HaYayin. The same thing applies to the blessings of Ayrusin and Nisuin, Asher Kidesh Ydid M'beten (Bris Milah), Shehechyanu on Yom Tov, Borei M'Oray Haish and Bsamim. Every Bracha that is Msudar Al HaKos carries with it a Kiyum Shira. Otherwise it would not be included in the overall framework of the Kos. These Brachos fit into the principle of Ayn Omrim Shira Ela Al HaYayin, Shira is only recited over wine.

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת, בְּשׁוּב י-ה-ו-ה אֶת שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים. אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה, אָז יֹאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם הִגְדִּיל י-ה-ו-ה לַעֲשֹוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה. הִגְדִּיל י-ה-ו-ה לַעֲשֹוֹת עִמָּנוּ, הָיִינוּ שְׂמֵחִים. שׁוּבָה י-ה-ו-ה אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב. הַזֹּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצֹרוּ. הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע, בֹּא יָבֹא בְרִנָּה, נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו:

92. Birkat hamazon (taken from Rabbi Riskin)
Rav Soloveitchik, the issue as to why bread should be singled out with three biblically ordained blessings (four in all, the first composed by Moses, the second by Joshua, the third by David and Solomon, and the fourth by the Sages after the destruction of Betar) -- while the Seven Species, even though they grace the land of Israel like a crown of glory, are honored with but a single blessing after they are eaten.
Not only that, but when three or more eat bread together, a formal 'ZIMUN' (literally invitation) precedes the actual Grace After Meals, in which one of the participants 'invites' the others present to respond to the praises of G-d. On the Sabbath and Festivals, there is even a custom followed by many Jews to perform this 'ZIMUN' while lifting a cup of wine.
This "formal invitation" is also exclusive to bread.
Rav Soloveitchik explained as follows: Concerning the Seven Species, the partnership between G-d and humans is limited, with the humans performing a largely custodial task. Once we plant the seed, G-d does all the rest, with the possible exception of our watering and protecting the fruits. Even the water is generally rain water from G-d.
The truth is that when an individual comes across a pomegranate tree in an open field, and takes a bite into the fruit, he/she is almost experiencing the "manna from heaven"! G-d does almost everything!
In contrast, bread's extraordinary journey from the field to the mouth requires a series of specific procedures. According to the Mishna's categorization of the 39 forbidden activities on the Sabbath, eleven are devoted to the preparation of bread:
"Sowing, ploughing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, selecting, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking...." [Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 74b]
Clearly the production of bread is a major project, and even though the seed and the earth and sun and the rain are provided for by G-d, what comes up from the ground will turn into hay unless man first turns it into bread.
In the production of bread, the concept of partnership is evident, with human ingenuity and exertion very much in the foreground. The eating of a pomegranate, on the other hand, is basically receiving a divine gift, is a function of G-d bestowing His loving kindness upon us.
Rav Soloveitchik suggests that the greater the degree of human input, the greater the degree of sanctity.
The world in the Kingship of G-d. Insofar as we express our Divine-given function as His Partners, we do indeed "bless" G-d. It is for the privilege of being G-d's Co-workers, for the pride which comes from the Knowledge that He thinks us worthy of being His Partners, that we praise and bless Him especially when we are intimately involved in developing His creation.
When the Israelites leave Egypt, only one person gives praise to G-d, Yitro, the Midianite father-in-law of Moses. In contrast, when the Red Sea is split, the entire nation sings the great song of Shira praise.
Should we therefore assume that the miracle of Egypt was any less great than the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea? Certainly both events are remarkable and unique. The Exodus demonstrated an ongoing systematic destruction of the natural order in a series of ten supernatural and unexpected plagues that anyone could see came from the hand of G-d. The splitting of the Red Sea happened once, and only following "a strong Easterly wind"!
Why greater praise at the Red Sea? In Egypt, the miracles were wrought exclusively by G-d, with no human involvement whatsoever. The people were passive: they listened, they heeded, they waited. G-d Himself planned and executed the Exodus, "neither via angel or messenger".
At the Red Sea, on the other hand, no miracle would have occurred, the Sea would never have split, and Nachshon, and many other Israelites not jumped into the swelling waters and the dangerous waves. Only after the Jews were willing to take the risk of drowning and make the first steps into the inundating sea, did the Almighty respond by revealing the dry land.
The greater song of praise is occasioned when the Israelites themselves are the initiators and co-actors in the drama of history.
Rav Soloveitchik goes on to contrast the two special mountains of the Bible, Mount Moriah and Mount Sinai.
Mount Sinai was the scene of Divine Revelation, the place from which we received the Bible. Yet the sanctity of Mount Sinai was temporary. Three days prior to the Revelation at Sinai, the Israelites were told to separate themselves from the mountain:
"...Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death". [Exodus 19:12]
Once the Revelation was given, the mountain resumed its previous status without a "do not trespass" sign adorning its peak. To this day, its exact location is unknown to us. Its probable site was given up to the Egyptians after the Yom Kippur War with barely a sigh of protest from the majority of the Israelis.
Mount Moriah, on the other hand, is the Temple Mount, the sacred spot from which Jerusalem emanates. No Israeli would contemplate giving up Jerusalem, eternally sacred and the symbol of our glorious past as well as our redemptive future.
These two mountains, Sinai and Moriah, represent two aspects of our historic experience. At Sinai, our involvement in the Revelation was relatively passive. G-d gave His Torah to us - and wherever G-d takes over entirely, the sanctity of that place is muted.
In contrast, the holiness of Moriah, the location of the Temple in Jerusalem, is a sanctity which can never be extinguished or relinquished because it was at Moriah, that Abraham brought his beloved son Isaac to be sacrificed. Abraham was the star actor at Moriah, placing his entire future at risk in a deed of ultimate commitment.
Sinai expressed G-d's gift to us, Moriah our gift to G-d. Only the sanctity of Moriah is eternal!
The more the individual is involved, the greater the sanctity and the higher the praise. G-d is constantly in search of humans to be His partners in perfecting the world and thereby to bless Him!
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Efrat, Israel

רַבּוֹתַי מִיר וֶועלְן בֶּענְטְשְׁן. (או רַבּוֹתַי נְבָרֵךְ.(:
והמסובין עונין:
יְהִי שֵׁם י-ה-ו-ה מְבוֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם:
בִּרְשׁוּת מָרָנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי נְבָרֵךְ (בעשרה:
אֶלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ:ועונין המסובין:
בָּרוּךְ (בעשרה: אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִינוּ:
והמזמן חוזר:
בָּרוּךְ (בעשרה: אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִינוּ:
בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּבָרוּךְ שְׁמוֹ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם. הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ, בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים. הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ, וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל. כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. כָּאָמוּר פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חַי רָצוֹן. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל:
נוֹדֶה לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ, אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה, וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, וּפְדִיתָנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים, וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ, וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חֻקֶּיךָ שֶׁהוֹדַעְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶסֶד שֶׁחוֹנַנְתָּנוּ, וְעַל אֲכִילַת מָזוֹן שָׁאַתָּה זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָנוּ תָּמִיד, בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה:
וְעַל הַכֹּל י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים לָךְ, וּמְבָרְכִים אוֹתָךְ, יִתְבָּרַךְ שִׁמְךָ בְּפִי כָּל חַי תָּמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. כַּכָּתוּב, וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ, וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָךְ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן:
רַחֵם נָא י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ, וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ, וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ, וְעַל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד מְשִׁיחֶךָ, וְעַל הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא שִׁמְךָ עָלָיו. אֱלֹהֵינוּ, אָבִינוּ, רְעֵנוּ, זוּנֵנוּ, פַּרְנְסֵנוּ, וְכַלְכְּלֵנוּ, וְהַרְוִיחֵנוּ, וְהַרְוַח לָנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מְהֵרָה מִכָּל צָרוֹתֵינוּ. וְנָא, אַל תַּצְרִיכֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ לֹא לִידֵי מַתְּנַת בָּשָׂר וָדָם, וְלֹא לִידֵי הַלְוָאָתָם, כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה, הַפְּתוּחָה, הַקְּדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה, שֶׁלֹּא נֵבוֹשׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:
כשחל בשבת:
רְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּמִצְוֹתֶיךָ וּבְמִצְוַת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, הַשַּׁבָּת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ הַזֶּה, כִּי יוֹם זֶה גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ, לִשְׁבָּת בּוֹ וְלָנוּחַ בּוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה כְּמִצְוַת רְצוֹנֶךָ, וּבִרְצוֹנְךָ הָנִיחַ לָנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, שֶׁלֹּא תְהֵא צָרָה וְיָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה בְּיוֹם מְנוּחָתֵנוּ, וְהַרְאֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּנֶחָמַת צִיּוֹן עִירֶךָ, וּבְבִנְיַן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ, כִּי אַתָּה הוּא בַּעַלהַיְשׁוּעוֹת וּבַעַל הַנֶּחָמוֹת:
אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא וְיַגִּיעַ, וְיֵרָאֶה וְיֵרָצֶה וְיִשָּׁמַע, וְיִפָּקֵד וְיִזָּכֵר זִכְרוֹנֵנוּ וּפִקְדוֹנֵנוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְזִכְרוֹן מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד עַבְדֶּךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן כָּל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפָנֶיךָ, לִפְלֵיטָה, לְטוֹבָה, לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים, לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים וּלְשָׁלוֹם, בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה:
זָכְרֵנוּ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בּוֹ לְטוֹבָה, וּפָקְדֵנוּ בוֹ לִבְרָכָה, וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ בוֹ לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים. וּבִדְבַר יְשׁוּעָה וְרַחֲמִים, חוּס וְחָנֵּנוּ וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ, כִּי אֵלֶיךָ עֵינֵינוּ כִּי אֵל (מֶלֶךְ) חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָתָּה:
וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה בּוֹנֵה (בְרַחֲמָיו) יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, אָמֵן:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם. הָאֵל, אָבִינוּ, מַלְכֵּנוּ, אַדִּירֵנוּ, בּוֹרְאֵנוּ, גּוֹאֲלֵנוּ, יוֹצְרֵנוּ, קְדוֹשֵׁנוּ קְדוֹשׁ יַעֲקֹב, רוֹעֵנוּ רוֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב לַכֹּל. שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הוּא הֵטִיב הוּא מֵטִיב הוּא יֵיטִיב לָנוּ. הוּא גְמָלָנוּ הוּא גוֹמְלֵנוּ הוּא יִגְמְלֵנוּ לָעַד, לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וּלְרֶוַח הַצָּלָה וְהַצְלָחָה, בְּרָכָה וִישׁוּעָה, נֶחָמָה, פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה, וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם וְכָל טוֹב. וּמִכָּל טוּב לְעוֹלָם אַל יְחַסְּרֵנוּ:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁתַּבַּח לְדוֹר דּוֹרִים. וְיִתְפָּאַר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְנֵצַח נְצָחִים. וְיִתְהַדַּר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְפַרְנְסֵנוּ בְּכָבוֹד:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁבֹּר עֻלֵּנוּ מֵעַל צַוָּארֵנוּ וְהוּא יוֹלִיכֵנוּ קוֹמְמִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵנוּ:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ בְּרָכָה מְרֻבָּה בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה וְעַל שֻׁלְחָן זֶה שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ עָלָיו:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ אֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא זָכוּר לַטּוֹב וִיבַשֶּׂר לָנוּ בְּשֹוֹרוֹת טוֹבוֹת יְשׁוּעוֹת וְנֶחָמוֹת:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת (אָבִי מוֹרִי) בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, וְאֶת (אִמִּי מוֹרָתִי) בַּעֲלַת הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, (אוֹתִי וְאֶת אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת זַרְעִי) אוֹתָם וְאֶת בֵּיתָם וְאֶת זַרְעָם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם. אוֹתָנוּ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָנוּ. כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְכוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב בַּכֹּל מִכֹּל כֹּל כֵּן יְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בִּבְרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן:
בַּמָּרוֹם יְלַמְּדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְעָלֵינוּ זְכוּת שֶׁתְּהֵא לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת שָׁלוֹם. וְנִשָּׂא בְרָכָה מֵאֵת י-ה-ו-ה וּצְדָקָה מֵאֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעֵנוּ. וְנִמְצָא חֵן וְשֵׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱלֹהִים וְאָדָם:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ לְיוֹם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ שַׁבָּת וּמְנוּחָה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ לְיוֹם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב. לְיוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ אָרוּךְ, יוֹם שֶׁצַּדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם וְנֶהֱנִים מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה וִיהִי חֶלְקֵנוּ עִמָּהֶם:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְזַכֵּנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ וּלְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:
מִגְדּוֹל יְשׁוּעוֹת מַלְכּוֹ וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְדָוִד וּלְזַרְעוֹ עַד עוֹלָם:
עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן:
יְראוּ אֶת י-ה-ו-ה קְדוֹשָׁיו כִּי אֵין מַחְסוֹר לִירֵאָיו:
כְּפִירִים רָשׁוּ וְרָעֵבוּ וְדוֹרְשֵׁי י-ה-ו-ה לֹא יַחְסְרוּ כָל טוֹב:
הוֹדוּ לַידֹוָד כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חַי רָצוֹן:
בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בי-ה-ו-ה וְהָיָה י-ה-ו-ה מִבְטַחוֹ:
נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַם זָקַנְתִּי וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם:
י-ה-ו-ה עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן י-ה-ו-ה יְבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם:
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת כּוֹס שְׁלִישִׁי מֵאַרְבַּע כּוֹסוֹת. לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
ושותים בהסיבה ואינו מברך ברכה אחרונה:
מוזגין כוסו של אליהו ופותחין הדלת ומתחיל שפוך חמתך:
שְׁפוֹךְ חֲמָתְךָ אֶל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדָעוּךָ וְעַל מַמְלָכוֹת אֲשֶׁר בְּשִׁמְךָ לֹא קָרָאוּ:

93. Shifoch Chamatcha

Many wonder why Chazal included the plea of Shifoch Chamatcha in the Haggada.  The Rav explains that it is an introduction to the prayer of Nishmat that is recited soon after we say Shifoch Chamatcha.  In the Nishmat prayer, we pray for the arrival of the Mashiach when the soul of all people will call out to Hashem.  This is appropriate for the Seder since Hashem introduced himself to Moshe Rabbeinu and Am Yisrael as “I am who I am” (Shemot 3:14).  Rashi (ibid) explains this term to mean that I am with them during this period of misfortune and I will be with them in future periods of misfortune.  The Rav explains that Hashem promised Moshe Rabbeinu that just as He will redeem Klal Yisrael from Egypt, so too He will redeem us from future difficulties.  As such, we ask Hashem at the Seder to fulfill His promise made on the eve of the redemption from Egypt that He redeem us from our current difficulties and send the Mashiach.  Similarly, in the Malchiot prayer of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we ask Hashem to bring the time when all of humanity will recognize Hashem “and all of creation will know that You created them”.
Accordingly, those people who do not know Hashem might be preventing the arrival of the Mashiach.  It is for this reason we ask Hashem to take His wrath to those who do not know Him, so that an impediment to redemption is eliminated.
We may suggest a variation of this theme.  We emphasize at the Seder that Hashem fulfilled His promise He made at the Brit Bein Habetarim (Breishit 15:14) to punish the nation that will torture and enslave us.  We develop at length how Hashem punished the Egyptians both in Egypt and at the Yam Suf.  Indeed, part of the Rambam’s (Sefer HaMitzvot 157) definition of the Mitzva of telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt includes telling how Hashem punished our oppressors.  The point of this emphasis is to demonstrate that there is a heavenly Judge and there is heavenly Justice, which is a general theme of Pesach (see Ramban at the conclusion of Parashat Bo). 
Accordingly, in Shifoch Chamatcha we ask Hashem to fulfill His promise to punish our contemporary oppressors, those who do not know Hashem, just as He punished our Egyptian oppressors.  “Those who do not know You”, that we mention in Shifoch Chamatcha, seems to refer to those who reject the seven Noachide Laws such as the prohibition to kill people.  Even “religious” people who kill innocents seem to be included in this prayer. rcj rhs mph

כִּי אָכַל אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת נָוֵהוּ הֵשַׁמּוּ:
שְׁפָךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעֲמֶךָ וַחֲרוֹן אַפְּךָ יַשִּׂיגֵם:
תִּרְדּוֹף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי י-ה-ו-ה:
הַלֵּל מוזגין כוס רביעי וגומרין עליו את ההלל, ויש נוהגין למזוג כוס רביעי לפני שפוך חמתך:
The Psukei Dzimarah that we recite daily, enclosed by the blessings of Baruch Sh'amar and Yishtabach are also Shira. Before a Jew can pray for his needs he must sing praise to Hashem. Shiru L'Hashem Shir Chadash, Kol Haneshama Thallel Kah. Whenever the word Hallelukah is used, it is a reference to Shira. The importance of saying Shira every day before one prays for his needs was underscored by the inclusion of the last portions of Psalms in the Psukei Dzimrah, each of which concludes with Hallelukah.
Shira is divided into 2 categories. The first is Shira that said on a miracle and great deliverance that occurs in a supernatural way. When a miracle occurs that transcends nature we say that Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle. Chachmei Hachidah say that the Hashgacha was Mshaded, broke, the laws of nature to create the miracle. The Ibn Ezra says that the word Sh-day and the word Shoded have the same root, for sometimes Hashem is a robber, he robs the laws of nature to fulfill His will. Shira that is recited over supernatural events is called Hallel Hamitzri, or as we generally refer to it simply asHallel. Since Yetzias Mitzrayim was a supernatural process of visible miracles, Chazal established that this Shira that speaks about the miracles at the time of the exodus, should be recited over supernatural miracles, Ninsim Shelo B'derech Hateva.
The Shira for supernatural miracles can be recited by great and simple people alike. One need only look at Az Yashir, to see that the Shira was recited by Moshe as well as through all of Bnay Yisrael, from the greatest to the simplest. The Zohar has accepted the opinion of Rabbi Nechemiah, that Bnay Yisrael repeated the entire Shira after Moshe, they did not limit themselves to reciting the refrain of Ashira L'Hashem, as the divine countenance settled on all of them. As Chazal say, a maid witnessed miracles and revelations at the Yam that Yechezkel did not see, hence they all saw and sang the complete Shira to Hashem.
Shira is also recited over the wonder of the continuity of the nature process. This Shira is not said over the breaking of the laws of nature, but rather in celebration of the consistency and continuity of nature. Besides the chapters of Hallel Hamitzri, Dovid Hamelech focused the Psalms on Shira that expresses praise to Hashem for the continuity of nature. Barchi Nafshi Hashem Elokay Meod Gadalata. Chazal called this type of Shira Hallel of Psukeiu Dzimrah, containing the sections starting with Tehila Ldovid and concluding with Kol Haneshama. We recite these chapters specifically to praise Hashem for the continuity of nature, not because Hashem breaks nature to perform what we call the supernatural.
Those that are familiar with the voice of Chazal (the Rav explained that this is a different level than simply knowing the Gemara, one must understand and appreciate the voice and intent behind what Chazal said) particularly the Rambam, understands that Chazal preferred the Hallel for the continuity of nature over the Hallel Hamitzri. The Gemara in Shabbat (118b) says that one who says Hallel daily is a blasphemer. The Gemara asks is that so? There is a statement by Rabbi Yosi that my portion should be with those that complete Hallel daily? The Gemara answers that it is laudable to recite Hallel Dpsukei Dzimrah daily, but not Hallel Hamitzri. (The Rav noted that this an issue for those that say all of Thillim daily and who come across the Hallel Hamitzri, should they skip it or recite it.) Man's religious experience is not dependent on witnessing miracles and supernatural events. Man can appreciate Hashem more simply by observing nature on a daily basis. In the growth of the organic world around him and in the consistency of mathematical formulae, one can see and appreciate the greatness of Hashem more than through the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians. After all, in comparison to the creation and maintenance of the universe and all of creation, the drowning of 600 Egyptian chariots was a tiny event.
Chazal felt that since Hashem imparted laws into nature, His resorting to any supernatural events for the benefit of someone is to be viewed as a deficiency on the part of the recipients. The will of Hashem is that the routine of nature should never be broken. If Hashem must resort to supernatural miracles to save man, it is the fault of man, for he has sunk to such a depth that he no longer can be saved by natural means. Chazal explain the verse Vayarad Lhatzilo as a Yeridah, degradation, Kavayachol, for Hashem because He did save them without breaking the laws of nature. The Midrash compares the act of Hashem going down to Egypt, Kvayachol, and rescuing the Jews through miracles to a Kohen whose Terumah was placed in a cemetery and the only way for the Kohen to retrieve it is to defile himself by entering the cemetery.
The overwhelming contacts that man has with Hashem are through the medium of nature. If one expects to find Hashem through supernatural events, he may never find Him.  This is the deficiency of modern man who equates religious commitment with the witnessing of miracles and can't see Hashem in the everyday existence. That is why Chazal said that one should not say Hallel Hamitzri daily. For one who bases his praise and observance of Hashem on supernatural events will be incapable of appreciating the greatness of Hashem. However, Chazal said that one must say Psukei Dzimarah daily in order to appreciate His greatness through nature.

חסר מִלֹא לָנוּ עד סוף הלל בלי יהללוך:
חסר הוֹדוּ לַה' נמצא לפני ברוך שאמר בשחרית:
חסר נִשְׁמַת עד דָּוִד בֶּן יִשַׁי עַבְדְּךָ מְשִׁיחֶךָ:
95. Hallel

The Rav asks why don’t we sing the Shirat HaYam at the Seder as the song that celebrates Hashem’s delivering us from slavery.  Why did Chazal choose Hallel as the celebratory song of the Seder?  He answers based on Rashi’s commentary to the Pasuk in Shmuel 2:23:1 that describes David Hamelech as the “sweet singer of Israel”.  Rashi explains “the Jewish people do not sing songs of praise to Hashem in the Bait Hamikdash unless it was composed by David Hamelech.”  The Rav notes that the same applies to Pisukei Dizimra, where we note in Baruch Sheamar  that we will sing David Hamelech’s songs of praise to Hashem.  Indeed, it is for this reason that the Rambam (Hilchot Tefilla 7:13) records a custom to recite the Shirat Hayam, in our daily prayers only after the Bracha of Yishtabach is recited.  He believes that since David HaMelech did not compose the Shirat Hayam its place is not in the P’sukei Dizimra that are recited between Baruch Sheamar  and Yishtabach.  Similarly, the Rav suggests that at the Seder we utilize only songs composed by David Hamelech to sing praise to Hashem for redeeming us from Mitzrayim. rcj rhs mph

וּבְכֵן, יִשְׁתַּבַּח שִׁמְךָ לָעַד מַלְכֵּנוּ הָאֵל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ. כִּי לְךָ נָאֶה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ. שִׁיר וּשְׁבָחָה הַלֵּל וְזִמְרָה עוֹז וּמֶמְשָׁלָה נֶצַח גְּדֻלָּה וּגְבוּרָה תְּהִלָּה וְתִפְאֶרֶת קְדֻשָּׁה וּמַלְכוּת. בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ, וּמֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל:
יְהַלְלוּךָ י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל כָּל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ
The physical world should bring man close to God. Rav Meir  Berlin and  Reb Chaim  Soloveitchik were  spending some time at a  Baltic Sea resort.   One morning,  Rav  Meir hears Reb Chaim go outside at about 5 AM.  Rav Meir goes out, and finds Reb Chaim sitting on  the terrace,  depressed.   He  asked why.   Reb Chaim said,  (paraphrased)  "Look at this beautiful sunset,  this whole beautiful  world.   Isn't it a  shame man has to  die?   So whenever  Reb Chaim  got depressed  over death,   he would  learn Tohorot [Mishnaic laws dealing with ritual purity, which could be lost by  contact with  various death-related  things].   Even  in death is there Halacha.  This would calm him down.
, וַחֲסִידֶיךָ צַדִּיקִים עוֹשֵׂי רְצוֹנֶךָ, וְכָל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּרִנָּה יוֹדוּ וִיבָרְכוּ וִישַׁבְּחוּ וִיפָאֲרוּ וִישׁוֹרְרוּ וִירוֹמְמוּ וְיַעֲרִיצוּ וְיַקְדִּישׁוּ וְיַמְלִיכוּ אֶת שִׁמְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ תָּמִיד. כִּי לְךָ טוֹב לְהוֹדוֹת וּלְשִׁמְךָ נָאֶה לְזַמֵּר, כִּי מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה מֶלֶךְ מְהֻלָּל בַּתִּשְׁבָּחוֹת: [אל ההודאות אדון הנפלאות הבוחר בשירי זמרה מלך יחיד אל חי העולמים]
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת כּוֹס רְבִיעִי שֶׁל אַרְבַּע כּוֹסוֹת. לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ עַל יְדֵי הַהוּא טָמִיר וְנֶעֱלָם בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
וִיהִי נוֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
The Rav mentioned that according to the Chachmei Hakabbalah the fourth cup of wine at the seder is symbolic of the ultimate redemption of Klal Yisrael, the Zeroah Netuyah. 
ושותה בהסיבה ואח"כ מברך ברכה אחרונה:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם עַל הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל תְּנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה וְעַל אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה שֶׁרָצִיתָ וְהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ לֶאֱכוֹל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְלִשְׂבּוֹעַ מִטּוּבָהּ. רַחֶם נָא י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ וְעַל מִזְבְּחֶךָ וְעַל הֵיכָלֶךָ. וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ וְהַעֲלֵנוּ לְתוֹכָהּ וְשַׂמְּחֵנוּ בְּבִנְיָנָהּ וְנֹאכַל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְנִשְׂבַּע מִטּוּבָהּ וּנְבָרֶכְךָ עָלֶיהָ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה. (בשבת:
וּרְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ בְּיוֹם הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶּה) וְשַׂמְּחֵנוּ בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה. כִּי אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה טוֹב וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וְנוֹדֶה לְךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה י-ה-ו-ה עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:
(בא"י גַפְנָהּ):
נִרְצָה אם עשה הכל כהסדר היא נרצה לה':
Tefila is also Avoda Shebelev, it is equated to Korban. We use the term Retzay (which is used in conjunction with the acceptance of Korbanos) and ask that not only should Hashem accept our Tefilos as prayer and supplication, but as a Korban and ultimate Avoda Shebelev.
Similarly, we find that as part of the Avodas Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol would read from the Torah and recite Berachos whose themes were that Hashem should accept the Korbanos of the day that were already brought. At the conclusion of the Pesach Seder we have Nirtzah where we pray that Hashem should accept our Korban Pesach which we have just concluded. The concept of Nirtzah applies where there is a Korban. For example, there is no concept of Nirtzah with Lulav. The concept of asking for Ritzuy Hakorban, that the Korban should be accepted, is based on these verses in Parshas Shemini. And Aharon raised his hands and blessed the people. Rashi interprets this blessing as Birkas Kohanim (Nesias Kapayim) since it says that Aharon raised his hands, which indicates the blessing of Nesias Kapayim. The next verse tells us that Moshe and Aharon entered Ohel Moed and upon their exit they jointly blessed the people. Rashi interprets their blessing as "May the Shechina reside in what you have
built for Hashem" and that they said Vehi Noam. 
(shiur date: 4/4/78)

חֲסַל סִדּוּר פֶּסַח כְּהִלְכָתוֹ. כְּכָל מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וְחֻקָּתוֹ. כַּאֲשֶׁר זָכִינוּ לְסַדֵּר אוֹתוֹ. כֵּן נִזְכֶּה לַעֲשֹוֹתוֹ. זָךְ שׁוֹכֵן מְעוֹנָה. קוֹמֵם קְהַל עֲדַת מִי מָנָה. בְּקָרוֹב נַהֵל נִטְעֵי כַנָּה. פְּדוּיִם לְצִיּוֹן בְּרִנָּה:
לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָיִם ג"פ:
וּבְכֵן וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
The night is normally a time of fear and dread. Chazal said that a person is more sensitive to pain.  The story of Raban Gamliel that there was a woman who had one son and she used to only cry at night for her son and Raban Gamliel cried along. Because at night, when man is alone, the full magnitude of how hopeless his situation is sinks in. This is based on the Passuk of Kumi Roni Balayla. We are also more sensitive at night in that man shares the suffering of his fellow man. The Bacho Tivkeh Balayla refers to the passuk of Vayivku Ha'am Balayla Hahu by the meraglim. Since the crying that they did in the Midbar was at night, Eichah is recited at night. However on Pesach night we are not alone

אָז רוֹב נִסִּים הִפְלֵאתָ בַּלַּיְלָה. בְּרֹאשׁ אַשְׁמוֹרֶת זֶה הַלַּיְלָה. גֵּר צֶדֶק נִצַּחְתּוֹ כְּנֶחֱלַק לוֹ לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
דַּנְתָּ מֶלֶךְ גְּרָר בַּחֲלוֹם הַלַּיְלָה. הִפְחַדְתָּ אֲרַמִּי בְּאֶמֶשׁ לַיְלָה. וַ יָּשַׂר יִשְׂרָאֵל לָאֵל וַיּוּכַל לוֹ לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
זֶרַע בְּכוֹרֵי פַּתְרוֹס מָחַצְתָּ בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה. חֵילָם לֹא מָצְאוּ בְּקוּמָם בַּלַּיְלָה. טִיסַת נְגִיד חֲרוֹשֶׁת סִלִּיתָ בְּכוֹכְבֵי לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
יָעַץ מְחָרֵף לְנוֹפֵף אִוּוּי הוֹבַשְׁתָּ פְּגָרָיו בַּלַּיְלָה. כָּרַע בֵּל וּמַצָּבוֹ בְּאִישׁוֹן לַיְלָה. לְאִישׁ חֲמוּדוֹת נִגְלָה רָז חֲזוֹת לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
מִשְׁתַּכֵּר בִּכְלֵי קֹדֶשׁ נֶהֱרַג בּוֹ בַּלַּיְלָה. נוֹשַׁע מִבּוֹר אֲרָיוֹת פּוֹתֵר בִּעֲתוּתֵי לַיְלָה. שִׂנְאָה נָטַר אֲגָגִי וְכָתַב סְפָרִים בַּלַּיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
עוֹרַרְתָּ נִצְחֲךָ עָלָיו בְּנֶדֶד שְׁנַת לַיְלָה. פּוּרָה תִדְרוֹךְ לְשׁוֹמֵר מַה מִלַּיְלָה. צָרַח כַּשּׁוֹמֵר וְשָׂח אָתָא בֹקֶר וְגַם לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
קָרֵב יוֹם אֲשֶׁר הוּא לֹא יוֹם וְלֹא לַיְלָה. רָם הוֹדַע כִּי לְךָ הַיּוֹם אַף לְךָ הַלַּיְלָה. שׁוֹמְרִים הַפְקֵד לְעִירְךָ כָּל הַיּוֹם וְכָל הַלַּיְלָה. תָּאִיר כְּאוֹר יוֹם חֶשְׁכַת לַיְלָה. וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה:
בחו"ל בליל שני:
וּבְכֵן וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
אוֹמֶץ גְּבוּרוֹתֶיךָ הִפְלֵאתָ בַּפֶּסַח. בְּרֹאשׁ כָּל מוֹעֲדוֹת נִשֵּׂאתָ פֶּסַח. גִּלִּיתָ לְאֶזְרָחִי חֲצוֹת לֵיל פֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם  זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
דְּלָתָיו דָּפַקְתָּ כְּחוֹם הַיּוֹם בַּפֶּסַח. הִסְעִיד נוֹצְצִים עֻגוֹת מַצּוֹת בַּפֶּסַח. וְאֶל הַבָּקָר רָץ זֵכֶר לְשׁוֹר עֵרֶךְ פֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
זוֹעֲמוּ סְדוֹמִים וְלֹהֲטוּ בָּאֵשׁ בַּפֶּסַח. חֻלַּץ לוֹט מֵהֶם וּמַצּוֹת אָפָה בְּקֵץ פֶּסַח. טִאטֵאתָ אַדְמַת מוֹף וְנוֹף בְּעָבְרְךָ בַּפֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
יָהּ רֹאשׁ כָּל אוֹן מָחַצְתָּ בְּלֵיל שִׁמּוּר פֶּסַח. כַּבִּיר עַל בֵּן בְּכוֹר פָּסַחְתָּ בְּדַם פֶּסַח. לְבִלְתִּי תֵּת מַשְׁחִית לָבֹא בִּפְתָחַי בַּפֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
מְסֻגֶּרֶת סֻגָּרָה בְּעִתּוֹתֵי פֶּסַח. נִשְׁמְדָה מִדְיָן בִּצְלִיל שְׂעוֹרֵי עוֹמֶר פֶּסַח. שֹוֹרְפוּ מִשְׁמַנֵּי פּוּל וְלוּד בִּיקַד יְקוֹד פֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
עוֹד הַיּוֹם בְּנוֹב לַעֲמוֹד עַד גָּעָה עוֹנַת פֶּסַח. פַּס יָד כָּתְבָה לְקַעֲקֵעַ צוּל בַּפֶּסַח. צָפֹה הַצָּפִית עָרוֹךְ הַשֻּׁלְחָן בַּפֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:קָהָל כִּנְּסָה הֲדַסָּה צוֹם לְשַׁלֵּשׁ בַּפֶּסַח. רֹאשׁ מִבֵּית רָשָׁע מָחַצְתָּ בְּעֵץ חֲמִשִּׁים בַּפֶּסַח. שְׁתֵּי אֵלֶּה רֶגַע תָּבִיא לְעוּצִית בַּפֶּסַח. תָּעוֹז יָדְךָ וְתָרוּם יְמִינֶךָ כְּלֵיל הִתְקַדֵּשׁ חַג פֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח:
כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
אַדִּיר בִּמְלוּכָה. בָּחוּר כַּהֲלָכָה. גְּדוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
דָּגוּל בִּמְלוּכָה. הָדוּר כַּהֲלָכָה. וָתִיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
זַכַּאי בִּמְלוּכָה. חָסִין כַּהֲלָכָה. טַפְסְרָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
יָחִיד בִּמְלוּכָה. כַּבִּיר כַּהֲלָכָה. לִמּוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
מֶלֶךְ בִּמְלוּכָה. נוֹרָא כַּהֲלָכָה. סְבִיבָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
עָנָיו בִּמְלוּכָה. פּוֹדֶה כַּהֲלָכָה. צַדִּיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
קָדוֹשׁ בִּמְלוּכָה. רַחוּם כַּהֲלָכָה. שִׁנְאַנָּיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
תַּקִּיף בִּמְלוּכָה. תּוֹמֵךְ כַּהֲלָכָה. תְּמִימָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ:
לְךָ וּלְךָ. לְךָ כִּי לְךָ. לְךָ אַף לְךָ. לְךָ י-ה-ו-ה הַמַּמְלָכָה. כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה. כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה:
אַדִּיר הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה אֵל בְּנֵה. בְּנֵה בֵיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב:
בָּחוּר הוּא. גָּדוֹל הוּא. דָּגוּל הוּא. יִבְנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה אֵל בְּנֵה. בְּנֵה בֵיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב:
הָדוּר הוּא. וָתִיק הוּא. זַכַּאי הוּא. חָסִיד הוּא. יִבְנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה אֵל בְּנֵה. בְּנֵה בֵיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב:
טָהוֹר הוּא. יָחִיד הוּא. כַּבִּיר הוּא. לָמוּד הוּא. מֶלֶךְ הוּא. נוֹרָא הוּא. סַגִּיב הוּא. עִזּוּז הוּא. פּוֹדֶה הוּא. צַדִּיק הוּא. יִבְנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה אֵל בְּנֵה. בְּנֵה בֵיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב:
קָדוֹשׁ הוּא. רַחוּם הוּא. שַׁדַּי הוּא. תַּקִּיף הוּא. יִבְנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה אֵל בְּנֵה. בְּנֵה בֵיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב:
אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ. אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
The Rav explained that in Hebrew, the word Echad has 2 meanings: the number one; and unique (singular or different). For example, Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokaynu Hashem Echad means that He is the one God as well as He is unique and beyond comparison with  His creation.
שְׁנַיִם מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁנַיִם אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית.
With these concepts of Gavra and Cheftza we can explain the story of Moshe shattering the Luchos upon his descent from Mount Sinai. Many commentaries on the Torah say that Moshe shattered the Luchos on purpose in order that the sinners should not receive the Torah. This approach would seem to agree with the Pshat in the verses. Others are of the opinion that Moshe broke the Luchos because he could no longer hold them aloft after viewing the scene of the people rejoicing around the golden calf. The Yalkut Shimoni quotes that the letters etched on the Luchos floated away in the air (Osiyos Porchos B'avir). Though Moshe struggled to maintain his grip on the Luchos, he failed and they fell from his hands and shattered.
The Rav asked the following question according to the second opinion that Moshe dropped them by accident: we find that Hashem commanded Moshe to carve out a new set of Luchos and carry them up the mountain to receive the Luchos Shniyos, second set of Luchos. Now, based on an elementary understanding of physics, it should be easier to carry an object down a mountain and more difficult to carry it up a mountain. If Moshe was able to carry two Luchos without script up Mount Sinai, he should have been able to carry the first set of Luchos, even after the etchings floated away from the stone, down Mount Sinai. Why did he drop them?
Apparently Chazal did not agree with the physicists in this case. Because when Moshe ascended the mountain to receive the second set of Luchos, he went to receive the forgiveness of Hashem for Bnay Yisrael. Moshe ascended the mountain on that early morning as a Gavra, full of anticipation of his rendezvous with Hashem and the forgiveness he would receive. He was ecstatic about receiving the Luchos that he would triumphantly carry back. Moshe was able to easily carry heavy stones, stones without etchings, up a mountain. However when Moshe descended Mount Sinai the first time and saw how the people sinned, he became an object in free fall, unable to control his descent or that of the Luchos and they fell and shattered.
Shlichus requires that man live his life as a Gavra and as a Cheftza. Man must be a Gavra Oleh, seeking to climb greater and greater heights and to influence the world around him. This Shlichus Of Hashem to man is reinforced with a Shevuah. It is the Shevuah that the infant accepts at birth to fulfill his mission, to utilize his Tzelem Elokim, Tishava Kol Lashon. Man must be a Gavra, a Mashpia (an influencer), to be righteous and not to be wicked. Hashem accompanies man wherever he goes and provides him the strength and abilities to carry Luchos up a mountain and not to fall prey to the foibles and pitfalls that are always trying to cause him to stumble. Man has the Koach Hashevuah to complete his Shevuah. This was the ability of the traditional Jew of past generations, who had the ability to carry out the Shevuah no matter how difficult his life was and despite all obstacles placed in his path.
However Judaism also demands that man act as a Cheftza as well. At the end of his life, man must do Teshuva, which demands Viduy (admission of sins) and Cheshbon Hanefesh (taking stock of his life). How does one perform Cheshbon Hanefesh? Man must objectively evaluate his actions and life. In other words, the Gavra must inspect the Cheftza. At this moment of recognition of sin and repentance, when he is about to depart this world, man realizes that he did not and indeed could not complete his Shlichus. The Viduy recited on Yom Hamisa, the day of death, is the same Viduy a Jew would recite over a Korban Chatos. Except in this case the Korban, the Cheftza over which the Viduy is recited, is the individual himself. Man can acknowledge this only when he realizes that he did not accomplish everything he could have, that in the final analysis he was a Cheftza and not a Gavra.
And the same is true of man throughout his life. At night when he prepares to return this soul to Hashem, he realizes that he did not accomplish his mission, he admits that he is not a Gavra in control, but rather a Cheftza in the hands of Hashem.

At Har Sinai Hashem gave the Jews the Torah through Kolay Kolos, with a tumultuous reception. Rashi comments that the second Luchos were given without accompanying fanfare, Moshe alone went up the mountain. The tumultuous manner in which the first Luchos were given was an Ayin Hara, which foretold the eventual destruction of those Luchos. The question is: why did Hashem give the first Luchos through Kolay Kolos even though He knew full well that this would foretell their ultimate destruction? The Rav explained that Hashem wanted the nations of the world to recognize the greatness of the Jewish Nation. Avraham was held in the highest regard by the nations of the world. Isaac had less prestige  and Jacob even less, and ultimately his children were enslaved by their hosts, the Egyptians. Had the Jew been respected it would have been very difficult to enslave them. Hashem wanted to ensure that  His chosen nation would receive the respect that the Am Hashem deserves. This was accomplished through Yetzias Mitzrayim and the first Kabbalas Hatorah soon after the exodus. The nations of the world were gripped with palpable fear, Chil Achaz Yoshvei Plashes (which Rambam says refers to Maamad Har Sinai and not the splitting of the Red Sea). All the nations recognized the greatness and uniqueness of the Jewish nation as Hashem returned the honor of Bnay Yisrael. That was the purpose of the Kolay Kolos. 
[After the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the Jews again were not respected. The honor of Am Hashem had to be restored. Hashem told Yeshayahu that the people will perfom Kiddush Hashem. Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah returned the honor of the Jewish People years later by making their stand against Nebuchadnezzar and reminding the people of the Mitzvas Kiddush Hashem. Nebuchadnezzar's forcing them to bow down before the idol was Hashem's plan for restoring the honor of Bnay Yisrael, through their act of defiance.]

 אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שְׁלֹשָׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת.
The Rav often mentioned the following principle, based in the Rambam’s “Guide to the Perplexed” (Moreh Nevuchim): Who was greater, Moshe or Avraham? On the one hand, we must say that Moshe was greater, for he was the greatest of all prophets. Indeed, Moshe’s stature is one of the Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith. On the other hand, we must say that Avraham was greater: When Moshe protested that Hashem did not rescue the People (at the end of Parshat Shemot), Hashem rebuked him by comparing his actions to those of the Patriarchs. Rashi quotes the Midrash: Hashem said to Moshe that He recalls the relationship with the Patriarchs who did not question His instructions, bemoaning their passing (“chaval al d'avdan). The name Elokim, is bound to 3 people: “Elokay Avraham, Elokay Yitzchak and Elokay Yaakov”, is a basic principle of Judaism. Althoug Moshe was the bchir min enushi, the chosen of humankind, he did not merit this terminology; there is no mention of ‘Elokay Moshe’. Why not? The Rambam indicates that Elokay Avraham is a possessive form, implying a sense of ownership. Elokay Avraham is “the God that belongs to Avraham”. Avraham was zoche in Hashem; Avraham was the owner and Hashem, kvayachol, was Avraham's possession, hence He was called Elokay Avraham.
A Jew can own many things, but apparently he also has the ability to own the greatest possible thing--Hashem. How can one “make a kinyan in” (lay claim to) Hashem? According to the same formula described in the Mishneh in Elu Mitzios for taking claim to an ownerless object (“being zoche in hefker”). Apparently Avraham was zoche in Hashem because he “found” Him, and He was ownerless, lacking signs of ownership, hence Avraham was able to claim Him. The difference between this type of ownership and ownership of a simple object is one: Metziot, found objects, are not sought; if a person comes across them, without any effort or search, they belong to him. One gains ownership of Hashem through finding, but one must first seek Hashem before he can find  and claim Him. Avraham did not find Hashem by chance; he sought Hashem for many years. Only after many years of searching was he able to claim Him.
(The Rav remarked that we tend to know so little about the Chumash. We look for all sorts of sources to interpret the Chumash, but the best way to study and appreciate Chumash is to read between the lines. Between the lines, the Chumash tells us more than is recorded.) Avraham was either 3 or 43 years old (as the Rambam says) when he recognized that Hashem controls the world. Many years passed after Avraham recognized Hashem without any contact from Him. All this time Avraham was spreading word of Hashem. People would ask Avraham, "Have you spoken with your God? Have you had any contact with Him?” Avraham would not be deterred from his mission, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable the situation was; he continued to seek Hashem. Avraham was 75 years old when Hashem first contacted him and told him to leave Charan. The time and effort Avraham spent seeking Hashem made Him his. “Batzar lecha u’mtzaucha”: If one seeks Hashem despite all the questions that trouble him, despite technology, despite tremendous obstacles, despite the Holocaust, eventually He will be found. There is one caveat: Hashem cannot be sought with the eyes alone. Man must put his entire heart and soul into the search.
Avraham's path to Hashem was not through “Hallel Hamitzri”, the great song at the banks of the split sea. Aavraham never witnessed Hayam Ra'ah Vayanos. He never saw the mountains trembling. The stories of the patriarchs do not describe extreme supernatural events; even the story of Avraham and Sarah in Egypt was not overtly miraculous. Avraham sought God and found him through nature, through “Batzar Lecha”. That is how God became “Elokay Avraham”. Moshe, on the other hand, did not seek Hashem. He had no questions, no problems. He was herding the sheep of his father-in-law, and he shared Yitro's interests and concerns. Nothing else bothered him. Suddenly he came across the Burning Bush and saw Hashem. There was no “Batzar Lecha”, no “u’bikashetem mi-sham”. Rather, Hashem found Moshe and told him to draw close. Moshe was not interested in accepting his mission. Hashem sought and found Moshe, not the reverse. In fact, instead of Hashem being the kinyan of Moshe, Moshe was the kinyan of Hashem, who sought him. That is why Moshe is called Eved Hashem. This is the difference between Elokay Avraham and Eved Hashem: Hashem belonged to Avraham while Moshe belonged to Hashem. From his first encounter with Hashem at the Sneh, Moshe saw Hashem through supernatural events- through Hallel Hamitzri, through Hayam Raah Vayanos. Only later, after destroying the first set of Luchot, did Moshe realize that the only true way to find Hashem is to seek Him out, to search for Him. Moshe asks Hashem to show him His Shechina.
Moshe says that he already saw Hashem at Sinai though Hallel Hamitzri. At the receipt of the second Luchos Moshe says that he now, with the second Luchos, wants to seek Hashem the same way that Avraham did, through Batzar Lcha. At the second Luchos, Hashem did not reveal Himself to Moshe through fire. Rather, he revealed Himself to Moshe through the cloud of the nature process, through the long extended periods of exile and holocaust and disaster, through Batzar Lcha. But Hashem promised Moshe that if he truly seeks Hashem, ultimately he will find Hashem and become the greatest of prophets, which he ultimately became. However since in the beginning Hashem found Moshe and not the reverse, the term Elokay Moshe could no longer be applied to him, as his beginnings were through Hallel Hamitzri and not Hallel Dpsukei Dzimrah like Avraham.
This is a characteristic of Judaism in general. When one comes and asks what is the essence of Judaism in 3 words or less (the Rav said that he agreed with Shamai's approach to the lout who wanted Shamai to teach him all of Torah "on one foot", where Shammai threw him down and walked away. If Shammai's approach was adopted, it would have been clear that all 613 Mitzvos are equivalent in their importance, and perhaps reform movements within Judaism would never have gotten off the ground.) Trying to distill Judaism into succinct principles is difficult at best. Even the Rambam, with his 13 principles of faith, left himself open to criticism from Gedolay Yisrael (e.g. the Chasam Sofer). Judaism always worked with Hallel Dpsukei Dzimrah and not Hallel Hamitzri.
Judaism always wanted man to understand that to rendezvous with Hashem, to comprehend the full beauty of Judaism and the relationship with Hashem, man must follow the path of Batzar Lcha Umtzaucha. Judaism states that the rest of the nations of the world can approach Hashem much more readily than Bnay Yisrael. Judaism is the most difficult and demanding religion. It carries so many demands and paradoxes that no other religion approaches. All, even psychologists, agree that religious experiences form the most complicated yet fulfilling existence. Take for example, a non-Jew who wants to understand the beauty of religious life. If he wants to come close to God in other religions, he must participate in all sorts of public religious acts. These religions do not control his personal life. He can enjoy life as much as he wants. But theses religions do not require of their adherents great daily sacrifice in order to rendezvous with God in their everyday private lives. It is very easy to approach God. One finds God with a minimum of searching.
On the other hand Judaism requires that the Jew be a Shomer Mitzvos. This concept of Shmiras Hamitzvos is uniquely Jewish. It means Korbanos and Mesiras Nefesh, even if one lives in their own land and much more so when one lives in exile in a foreign land. The Midrash asks on the verse Galsa Yehuda M'Oni U'Me'rov Avoda, were the Jews the only nation to be exiled? Were none of the other nations of the world ever exiled? Why is it such a tragedy for the Jews? Chazal answer that for the nations of the world who eat the food of the lands they are exiled to and enjoy life there, they are not really in exile. But for Jews who do not eat their bread or drink their wine, it is exile. Take for example an American Jew who wants to keep Shabbat and wants to participate in American business and culture. A Jew must close his business on Shabbat, perhaps the best business day of the week. A Jew who attends a secular university must work around the problems of examinations that are given on Shabbat. (The Rav noted that in the 40s and early 50s it was almost impossible for Jewish students to get a proctor to administer an exam that was given on Shabbat. However over time and to the credit of the young Jewish students, the universities began to provide for their needs. The Rav felt that this was a manifestation of the law of supply and demand, in order to get good Jewish students that were observant, the universities had to provide for their religious needs.) Nowadays a Jew may want to attend a Shul but because he lives in suburbia and at a great distance from the Shul would have to travel by car to attend services. In such a situation, refraining from traveling to Shul and being Mchalel Shabbat is also a manifestation of BaTzar Lcha.
But the greatest example of Batzar Lcha is Jewish Education. Our notion of a Yeshiva or day school is very different from that of the Catholic school system. The curriculum is essentially the same between the Catholic Schools and the Public Schools. It is more an issue of environment and milieu. A Jewish day school on the other hand, requires a whole different language and vocabulary. Chumash, Rashi and ultimately Gemara. The Rav said that when compared to all the difficult disciplines, including mathematics, physics and chemistry, Gemara is more complex and difficult.
The abstract thought processes of Halacha are uniquely difficult and exacting and equire tremendous concentration. We have always been exoteric when it cane to the study of Gemara. Jewish Education, where students spend one full schedule on Gemara and another on secular studies and homework for both, and work hard at both
disciplines day after day, is the best example of Batzar Lcha.
Elkana stood on 2 hills, Ramasayim Tzofim, not on one. There was a huge canyon between them, yet he did not remove himself from one of the two hills for fear that he would fall into the abyss. Instead he built a bridge between them. One who wants to
understand Gemara must also understand math and physics etc. Many have said that it is impossible to live on the 2 hills of Elkana, on Ramasayim Tzofim.
Many have tried but fell into the canyon. We drive our children to succeed in both disciplines, on the one hand to appreciate and absorb the full beauty and depth of the Gemara, on the other hand to succeed in the secular world as well. Yet, there is no other way, we can't go back [to the days where students were secluded from everything but Torah studies]. If we want to make sure that Judaism will not become relegated to sectism, (where morality and ethics and personal life are circumscribed and concurrence is sought after), and in order that Judaism does not become closed into the 4 cubits of Batlanus, we have to figure out how to live in Ramasayim Tzofim. This was the mission of Moshe at the second Kabbalas HaTorah, this is the mission of
Batzar Lcha, Ubikashtem Misham, to work hard to succeed at both Torah and secular studies.
The Rambam says that the foundation of Judaism is knowledge of Hashem. Mitzva Layda. The Chovas Halevavos, who preceded the Rambam, said that Judaism is based on the concept of Hakaras HaTov, expressing thanks to Hashem for all He has done for us. Only the thankful person can be  real Jew. (The Rambam praised the Chovas Halevavos, saying that this book was always found on the table of his father.) Rabbeinu Bachaye says that the notion of thankfulness to Hashem is the climax of the idea. However it must begin with thankfulness between man and his fellow man. If one can't express thanks to another person, he can't express thanks to Hashem. And without the ability to express thanks to Hashem, it is impossible to experience a religious way of life.

Rabbi Soloveitchik in Tradition (from his "Eulogy for the Talner Rebbetzin" - Tradition Summer 1978): People are mistaken in thinking that there is only one M'sorah and one M'sorah community; the community of the fathers. It is not true. We have two M'sorot, two traditions, two communities, two chains of tradition (*shalshalot ha-kabbalah*) - the m'sorah community of the fathers and that of the mothers. "Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob (=the women) and tell the children of Israel (=the men)" (Exodus 19:3), "Hear my son the instruction of thy father (*mussar avikha*) and forsake not the teaching of thy mother (*torat imekha*)" (Proverbs 1:8), counseled the old king. What is the difference between those two m'sorot? What is the distinsction between *mussar avikha* and *torat imekha*? Let us explore what one learns from the father and what one learns from the mother. One learns much from father: how to read a text - the Bible or the Talmud - how to comprehend, how to analyze, how to conceptualize, how to classify, how to infer, how to apply, etc...One also learns from father what to do and what not to do, what is morally right and what is morally wrong. Father teaches the son the discipline of thought as well as the discipline of action. Father's tradition is an intellectual-moral one. That is why it is identified with *mussar*, which is the Biblical term for discipline. What is *torat imekha*? What kind of a Torah does the mother pass on? I admit that I am not able to define precisely the masoretic role of the Jewish mother. Only by circumscription I hope to be able to explain it. Permit me to draw upon my own experiences. I used to have long conversations with my mother. In fact, it was a monologue rather than a dialogue. She talked and I "happened" to overhear. What did she talk about? I must use an halakhic term in order to answer this questions: she talked *me-inyana de-yoma* (matters pertaining to the day). I used to watch her arranging the house in honor of a holiday. I used to see her recite prayers; I used to watch her recite the sidra every Friday night and I still remember the nostalgic tune. I learned from her very much. Most of all I learned that Judaism expresses itself not only in formal compliance with the law but also ina living experience. She taught me that there is a flavor, a scent and warmth to mitzvot. I learned from her the most important thing in life - to feel the presence of the Almighty, and the gentle pressure of His hand resting upon my frail shoulders. Without her teachings, which quite often were transmitted to me in silence, I would have grown up a soulless being, dry and insensitive. The laws of Shabbat, for instance, were passed on to me by my father; they are a part of *mussar avikha*. The Shabbat as a living entity, as a queen, was revealed to me by my mother; it is a part of *torat imekha*. The fathers knew much about the Shabbat; the mothers lived the Shabbat, experienced her presence, and perceived her beauty and splendor. The fathers taught generations how to observe the Shabbat; mothers taught generations how to greet the Shabbat and how to enjoy her twenty-four hour presence.

 שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
אַרְבַּע מִי יוֹדֵעַ.
The Matriarchs had a greater ability to discern the question of “who is a Jew”. Hence while Avraham was reticent about sending away his son Yishmael, Sarah possessed clarity, and the Almighty agreed with Sarah. While Yitzchak was enamored with Esav, Rivka confidently told her son Yaakov that the blessings were his. In both instances we see a greater understanding by the matriarchs, consequently Jewish identity follows the mother.

There were 2 covenants between Hashem and Bnay Yisrael. The first was the Patriarchal Covenant between Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Hashem. The second was the Sinaitic Covenant between Hashem and Moshe and (again) between Moshe and Bnay Yisrael, which included the obligation to repeat the covenant before the death of Moshe and upon entry to Eretz Yisrael. The focus of the Sinaitic covenant is the commitment to keep the 613 Mitzvos. Our commitment to the Sinaitic covenant can be compared to the contractual obligation through which one can accept upon himself indebtedness to another. Similarly, Bnay Yisrael have accepted the obligation to keep the Mitzvos of Hashem.
The Rav wanted to understand the nature of the Patriarchal Covenant. On the surface it is an enigmatic covenant, with only one commandment contained within it, circumcision. What did this covenant accomplish, what does it demand from the Jew and what is its relevance to us today?
The Torah mentions the Patriarchal Covenant  when it first mentions the Sinaitic Covenant  in Parshas Bechukosai, referring to it as Bris Rishonim. The dual covenant notion is expressed in Mussaf on Rosh
Hashonah, as both are mentioned in the Beracha of Zichronos. Apparently the 2 covenants are complementary. The Patriarchal Covenant is the background and pre-requisite for the establishment of the Sinaitic Covenant . The Sinaitic Covenant  relates to human deed and performance. It teaches us how to act in all situations. The Patriarchal Covenant  addresses human personality and character as a whole, the essence of the I-awareness, teaching man who he should be. The Sinaitic Covenant  teaches man how to act and what to do as a member of the Covenantal Community. The Patriarchal Covenant  tells the Jew how to feel as a member of the Covenantal Community, and how to experience being a Jew. It is a wonderful experience to be a Jew, unfortunately not everyone knows how to appreciate this experience.
The covenant was reached with 2 people: man and woman. From the time of creation and their first rendezvous, Hashem addressed Himself to both man and woman. Both were created together, only together were they called Adam and endowed with the greatest of gifts, their humanity of Tzelem Elokim. Human reality is a dual one, that at creation transcended the physiological sex differentiation and extended into the metaphysical level. The very statement of creation, where man and woman were created together and in the image of Hashem, contradicts the perverse notion that Judaism ascribes an inferior status to women. At the same time, it also cuts away the false notion that there is no metaphysical distinction between man and woman. Man and woman differ existentially, but they do not differ in terms of values (axiological existence), as both share the image of God, their humanity. Hashem created a dual existence, man and woman, as they complement each other. The two existential beings together represent one perfect destiny.
This complementary nature and single destiny is the basis of the covanant community. We can see this through the relationship of Abraham and Sarah. Both were equal parties to the covenant with Hashem. Indeed, at times we might be tempted to think that Sarah was the central figure (see Rashi on the verse telling Abraham to listen to the voice of Sarah, that Abraham was on a lower level, in terms of prophecy, than Sarah was).
The definition of the Covenantal Community as requiring both Sarah and Abraham, man and woman, is also seen at the end of Parshas Lech Lecha. Abraham asks that Hashem pass the covenant on to Ishmael, resigning himself to remaining childless with Sarah. Hashem answers that Sarah, his wife, will bear him a child to be called Isaac, and this child, the product of both Sarah and Abraham, will be the recipient of the covenant. Ishmael cannot be the recipient of the covenant, because he represented only one side of the Covenantal Community, Abraham, but not Sarah.
Another example is where Hashem appears to Abraham and changes his name to indicate he is now the father of all the nations of the world. Hashem informs him that the change is effective from the time of
notification. Later, when Hashem informs Abraham that Sarah's name has been changed, it is  mentioned in terms of having previously been changed. Since the Covenantal Community required both Abraham and Sarah, it was impossible to change the name of one without automatically affecting the name of the other. Sarah's name was changed automatically at the same time Abraham's name was changed. Hashem later simply informs Abraham that her name has already been changed as well. Hence their names were changed and they were selected together, and only together, to achieve covanantal sanctity.
The Torah describes the connection between them in various stories. After Sarah dies, Abraham realizes that with the death of the mother of the Covenantal Community, his mission as father of the Covenantal Community is drawing to a close. All that is left for him is to act out the last part and walk of the historical stage, making way for others to pick up the mantle of father and mother of the Covenantal Community. Abraham survived Sarah by 38 years. Yet, after the death of Sarah the Torah tells us just 2 stories involving Abraham [in relation to his role as father of the Covenantal Community]. The first is the purchase of the burial plot for Sarah, the Mearas Hamachpelah, the second is the story of finding a wife for Isaac. Indeed, the latter story is more important in the context of the relationship of Rebecca and Isaac as the next generation of the Covenantal Community. The Torah says that Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother, and she filled the gap left by the death of the mother for of the Covenantal Community. Once again there would be a father and a mother for the Covenantal Community. Abraham has now moved off the center stage for the remaining 38 years of his life, as he has entrusted the destiny of the Covenantal Community to Isaac and Rebecca.
The Torah says that Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and to cry for her. Human nature would dictate that one would cry first and then eulogize. Crying is not mourning, rather it is the spontaneous release of tension to a (usually destructive) surprise. On the other hand, a eulogy is a rational, intellectual performance that requires clarity of mind to evaluate and appraise the loss, and to discover how reality has changed. Abraham suffered a double loss with the death of Sarah. The first was the loss of his wife and partner, who went through thick and thin with him and together they met the challenges of life. No one understands the bleak loneliness and destructive nostalgia felt by a surviving mate. Abraham felt that his whole world had been dislocated. The second sense of loss was the uncertainty of the fate of the Covenantal Community. Abraham knew the secret that the covenant was entrusted to both a man and a woman. Now that the mother of the Covenantal Community had died, would Hashem trust him to continue? Perhaps he had sinned and was no longer worthy to be the father of the Covenantal Community. The first thing that Abraham did was to appraise Sarah's contributions to the growth of the
Covenantal Community, and to put in place a plan for how to continue without her. After all, Abraham was not alone in this loss. As the Rambam writes, that they had brought tens of thousands of followers into the covenant. These people also felt the loss of the mother of their community. First Abraham had to orient himself to the loss of Sarah in terms of the community. Only afterwards could he break down and cry over his loss as an individual.

What was Sarah's assigned role within the Covenantal Community? What kind of a person was she? The first (enigmatic) verse (and Rashi) in the Parsha answers these questions.  The repetition of the word Shana after each digit in the number 127 is strange, as well as the clause at the end of the verse, Shnay Chayei Sarah. Rashi quotes the Midrash that the reason for the repetition is to emphasize that when she was 100 she was free of sin as a woman of 20, and as a woman of 20 she was as beautiful as a girl of 7.
What kind of a life did she lead? What was the essence and substance of her personality? The Torah answers these questions by stressing that indeed Sarah was a unique individual. She was a 7 year old innocent child, with the beauty of a 20 year old girl at the age of 100. Rashi stresses that even though she was ripe in years (100), she was still a young vivacious girl. The whole biography of Sarah can be summed up in these three closing words of the first verse, Shnay Chayei Sarah.
The Rav mentioned that he would associate the opening Rashi in Chayei Sarah with (Lhavdil) the story of Peter Pan. Peter Pan refused to grow up and take his place in life. However, Sarah did not suffer from a stymied, under developed personality. She was a bold, daring and responsible person who, miraculously, did not allow the maturity of the adult in her to squash her inherent enthusiasm of an innocent child. She grew older and wiser with the passage of time, yet in times of need or crisis the young girl in her came to the fore. Rashi is telling us that the three time periods of a member of the Covenantal Community, childhood, young adulthood and mature older person can coexist simultaneously; they are not mutually exclusive. The paradoxical confluence of all three in an individual is a sign of greatness necessary for leadership in the Covenantal Community.
There are 4 basic Mitzvos in the life of the Jew. Study of Torah, Faith in Hashem, Prayer and the Love of Hashem. One studies Torah with his intellect. Not everyone is endowed with the capabilities necessary to study Torah. Intellectual endeavors are esoteric in nature. The more capable one is, the more time he has for study and the pursuit of knowledge and the more knowledge he accumulates. A wise person is called a Zaken because intellectual wealth is usually associated with someone who has devoted much time to study, which is typically an older person. Maturity is required for the study of Torah. The immature mind cannot grasp the concepts of study.
Torah scholarship, indeed scholarship in any field, requires intellectual curiosity and skepticism. The effective student questions everything that the teacher offers him, attempting to refute the lesson in order to achieve a clearer understanding of the topic. The Gemara (Baba Metziah 84a) relates the story that after the passing of Resh Lakish, the Rabbis sent Rabbi Elazar Ben Pedas to take his place as the study partner of Rav Yochanan. After a while he was sent back. Rav Yochanan explained that Resh Lakish would argue with him and force him to support his positions and opinions. Rabbi Elazar Ben Pedas would agree with Rav Yochanan and would not challenge him intellectually. Rav Yochanan had no use for a passive study partner. Some people become vindictive with old age. However old age that is accompanied with a discriminating skepticism is a very important quality for the study of Torah.
When it comes to prayer, skepticism is an undesirable quality. [The Rav noted that the Jewish people discovered prayer, taught the world how to pray, and unfortunately many of us have forgotten how to pray. The Rav emphasized the importance of the Siddur in the life of the Jew. He related the story of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Baal Hatanya, who as a young boy in White Russia reached the age where he had to choose where to continue his studies. He was presented with 2 choices. The first, Vilna, was the center and pinnacle of Talmudic study. The second was the town of Mezeritch, where the Maggid of Mezeritch concentrated on the study of prayer and the Siddur. The Baal Hatanya was an accomplished Talmudist already, but he felt that he knew nothing about the Siddur and how to pray, so he decided to go to Mezeritch.] The adult, with the skeptical mind does not know how to surrender himself in prayer. He does not know how to generate the mood of despair, helplessness, worthlessness necessary for prayer. If a man does not feel himself completely dependant on Hashem for his needs, he may not pray. The closer one comes to Hashem the more he realizes how insignificant he truly is. The Rambam speaks of man's movement towards Hashem and with the sudden realization of how worthless he is, that he is someone here today and gone tomorrow, he recoils from Hashem. The Rambam refers to this experience as Yiras Hashem. This experience is the spring well of prayer.
The sophisticated intellectual cannot pray. Only a child, the naive person who is capable of complete faith and trust in Hashem can pray. An infant  has unlimited trust in his mother. King David expresses this concept when he says that he puts his faith in Hashem like the weaned child's faith in his mother. A child instinctively feels protected in the arms of his mother, sensing that the mother would never allow any harm to come to him and would do anything to make his life more enjoyable. A child has absolute faith in his mother because she has never lied to or disappointed him. This same absolute, child-like faith in Hashem is required for prayer. In theological terms, faith cannot be applied to man. Faith is absolute, complete reliance without reservation that he will never be betrayed or disappointed. To have faith in man would contradict the statement of King David, Kol Haadam Kozev, all men lie. One can have confidence in man, but it is blasphemous to have faith in man.
Faith requires of the faithful the willingness from time to time to suspend his judgement, to surrender body and mind to Hashem. Faith sometimes requires irrational actions without providing an explanation for the action. The ability to surrender judgement requires the child within to help the intellectual adult surrender himself to God and pray.
The ability to suspend judgement was required of Abraham at the Akeida. Hashem had decreed that it was prohibited to murder another human being, including the abomination of human sacrifice. One who commits such an act is punishable with death. Abraham had spent much of his adult life engaging the priests who practiced human sacrifice in debate, attempting to convince them to stop this horrible practice, a practice that   contradicts the very essence of humanity. Abraham built altars, but he      never sacrificed anything on them, with the exception of the ram on Mount Moriah after the Akeida. Suddenly, Hashem commands Abraham to offer a human sacrifice. In this context, it was not important who he was to sacrifice, but rather that he was to offer a human sacrifice at all. Abraham could have protested to Hashem, how could he do the very thing that he had devoted so much of his energy and time to discredit and prevent! How could he suspend his humanity and offer a human sacrifice? Abraham never protested to Hashem. He suspended his judgement and humanity in order to fulfill the will of Hashem. Abraham acted as a child, showing complete faith in Hashem.
Hashem does not ask us to make the same leap of faith that He required of Abraham. All we are asked to do is to accept the Torah and the Mitzvos without trying to rationalize each Mitzvah. We have no right to rationalize the Mitzvos, our obligation is to accept and follow, and like Abraham show our complete faith in Hashem. It takes a great deal of Chutzpa to rationalize the Mitzvos, to make them fit in our view and mood of the minute.
The Rambam writes that Abraham deduced that Hashem was the guiding force behind creation. The Rambam describes Abraham as an intellectual giant who overcame the foolishness of the idolaters that surrounded him to recognize Hashem. Yet this intellectual giant was capable of suspending his judgement when he had to faithfully serve Hashem. Abraham was also the first person to pray to Hashem, because he was the first who was capable of suspending his intellect to express his complete reliance and child-like faith in Hashem. He was able to view himself as dust and ashes when praying to Hashem. He acted the same way when called to perform the Akeida. The Torah teaches us that man must be ready to act as both an adult and child, and to switch between them at a moments notice.
Both Abraham and Sarah, the founders of the Covenantal Community, exhibited maturity and child-like behavior when called upon to do so. The Torah expects a member of the Covenantal Community to fight as a young man for his ideals, like Abraham did when called upon to save his nephew. Abraham was at least 75 years old at that time, probably older, yet he acted as a young warrior when it was time to fight and went into battle without hesitation. When Abraham studied the skies of Mesopotamia in search of Hashem he acted as a wise old man. When he prayed, he did so with the complete faith of a young child. And when called upon to fight, he did so as a young and vigorous man.
What is the covenant personality as defined by the patriarchs and matriarchs? One trait is the existential dialectic with which he/she is burdened, having an awareness of greatness as well as helplessness, of courage and self doubt. The 3 fold personality that is so indicative of the Covenantal Community, that of child, youth and old person, is expressed in the opening verse of the Parsha, Shnay Chayei Sarah, the biography of Sarah. These three traits combined to form the essence of the covenant personality as exhibited by the patriarchs and matriarchs.
In addition to the covenant personality, the Patriarchal Covenant  has also created a concept of covenant historical destiny that is distinct from historical experience. The covenant bestowed upon Bnay Yisrael a destiny distinct from other historical processes in 2 ways: 1) causal determination and 2) dialectic covenant destiny.
The main distinction between universal historical and covenant dynamics lies in their view of the causality of events. Universal historical dynamics is based on the premise that an event in the present is caused by an event in the past. Event A begets event B.  It is based on a mechanical notion of causality. The covenant event should be placed in a different causal context, that of teleology or purposiveness. The covenant dynamic is sustained by the covenant promise and the drive to attain a goal that temporarily lies outside the reach of the community.
 אַרְבַּע אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
חֲמִשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שִׁשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שִׁשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שִׁבְעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שִׁבְעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שְׁמוֹנָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁמוֹנָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
תִּשְׁעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. תִּשְׁעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵידָה. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
עֲשָׂרָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ. עֲשָׂרָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָּא.

Ha kodosh Boruch Hu has concluded the covenant not with a nation but with an individual.  Finally, it developed into a community of seventy people.  But the individual covenant was with Abraham.  The Ten Commandments was addressed not in the plural but to the individual - to emphasize that G-d is ready to do business with even the individual.  Even if the whole community faltered, He is willing to deal with but one person.  That is why in Shmos, the names are repeated and emphasized.  Thus, it says these are the names, Ish U’vayso - each man and his family.  Each man is dear to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and each man is dear to G-d as the entire community and maybe even more.  That is why halacha is so concerned with the individual.  There is dignity of the Yochid - the individual.  The first posek is the motto of the Chumash.  G-d took the people out not because they were an “Am” - nation, but because they suffered individually.
Torah tell us that Rabbi Akivah came to Ginzu, perhaps to gather money to support Bar  Kochba’s revolution.  He told them the story of the “mabul” - the great flood - but no one was emotionally affected.  The next day he told them another and all burst out crying.  After all, the Flood involved all humanity.  The story he told was of a personal tragedy where a house collapsed on a person.  What does it show?  The tragedy of the Yochid has a greater impact often than the multitudes.  Some people may not be as emotionally motivated by the loss of 6 million Jews in Germany as by the individual store of inhuman suffering.  Therefore, Torah tells us that in “V’aylah Shmos” - Yetzias Mitzraim - the Exodus would have taken place even if one individual had been there.  It did not have to be a multitude.  “Ish U’Vayso” - one man and his family.  Because of the few families, a relationship was established with G-d.
The Aseres Hadivros - the commandments - was also written in the plural.  Where?  In sedra Kedoshim. (Actually it is recorded in three places - Yisro, Kedoshim, V’etchanan.)  Once numbers are introduced we are then interested in the collective entity.  It is now an established entity.  But in Shmos, we still have the individual.  We cannot say that Yehadus is interested in only an individual or only a communityBoth is correct!  One individual would have been worthy of liberation but G-d wanted them to become a great nation.

Point II   “Hamitzi B’mispor Zvoam” - He that bringeth out the host by number.  This is a sentence from Rashi and can best be exemplified as the position of all the stars and constellations in the entire cosmos.  Collectively, each one is but part of one universe comprising the entire cosmos.  And yet each one is numbered, named and accounted for individually by G-d.  Each has its individual function presumably wihtout which the universe cannot function.
Similarly, in Knesses Yisroel, it is a system which is composed of individuals comprising a unique system.  Yet each one has its individual worth.  Therefore, here in Shmos, G-d was ready to destroy the world (the greatest center of the world, Mitzraim) in order to liberate them.
Later, however, in Bamidbar, when it came to taking the census, we have them counted by families, by clans.  In taking a census, we don’t count by individuals because it would destroy the individulity of the Jew.  Therefore, in the desert, they counted the Shekalim contributed by each.  In later times, a census was counted by fingers.

תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵידָה. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
אַחַד עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ. אַחַד עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא. עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָּא. תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵידָה. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא.

The Midrash Comments on the opening verse in Parshas Shemos "Tov Shem Mishemen Tov etc." (A good Shem is far more valuable than the best of oils), The Rav noted that the same sentence of Ayleh Shmos Bnay Yisrael Habaim Mitzrayma is used in Parshas Vayigash as well. Why did the Midrash see fit to use the comment of Tov Shem in Shemos but not in Vayigash?
The Rav noted that in Hebrew, the word Shem is used for 2 things: 1) a name 2) a reputation. In other words, a person acquires a reputation that is linked with his name.
 In Parshas Vayigash, the verse Ayleh Shemos is simply stating the names of the children of Yaakov who accompanied him to Egypt. In Parshas Shemos, the Torah mentions the great reputation that these giant personalities carried with them as Shivtei Kah. The Rav asked how we know this. Maybe the verse in Vayigash is referring to their reputations?
Obviously their reputations grew beyond what they were initially on their arrival in Egypt. The simple proof to this is that they grew in Egypt into true Baalei Teshuva, when they asked Yosef for forgiveness after the death of Yaakov. Had they been completely repentant while Yaakov was alive for their actions towards Yosef, they never would have been fearful of Yosef seeking retribution from them for what they did to him. Their seeking forgiveness from Yosef at that time epitomized their status as true Baalei Teshuva.
There was a span of hundreds of years between the Ayleh Shemos in Parshas Vayigash and that of Parshas Shemos. This period of time was needed to allow Bnay Yisrael to grow into a Goy Gadol, a great nation. As the Midrash comments on the verse of Arami Ovayd Avi... Vayehi Sham Lgoy Gadol, had Bnay Yisrael not gone through their experience in Egypt they would have remained a small clan, but never would have attained the status of a great nation. We have remained a Goy Gadol to this day because of our experiences in Egypt. The Zohar comments that the Rechush Gadol that they were to leave Egypt with was their becoming a Goy Gadol. The Shevatim were able to attain great status in Egypt that they would not have reached had they remained in Canaan.
The Rav explained further how the Shevatim grew in reputation during their stay in Egypt. Before Yaakov passed away he requested that Yosef ensure that Yaakov would be buried in Mearat Hamachpela. Yaakov knew that he could rely on Yosef, the Prime Minister of Egypt to accomplish this task. Before Yosef passed away he also desired that he be buried in Eretz Yisrael.
Who did he ask to guarantee this? He did not ask his own children, Menashe and Efrayim. Instead he told all the Shevatim that eventually Hashem will redeem them from Egypt and they should remember to carry his remains with them. Who picked up this responsibility?
Levi and Shimon had conspired to kill Yosef that fateful day when Yosef was sold into slavery.  If anyone would have carried animosity towards Yosef all those years, it would have been Levi.
Yet Moshe, who was a direct grandson of Levi, from both sides, was the one who took it upon himself to locate Yosef's remains  and ensure that they were transported from Egypt through all the years that they wandered in the desert. One could well imagine, that having grown up in the Beis Levi, if anyone from Levi's immediate family felt animosity towards Yosef, they would have planted in Moshe the seeds of hatred towards Yosef.
Perhaps Moshe might not have made such a super human effort all those years in the desert in taking upon himself the responsibility of transporting Yosef's remains. He might have left it for someone of Yosef's immediate family to take care of. Apparently, Moshe must have been told by his family about the greatness of Yosef and how he saved so many people in times of crisis. Moshe had the tradition of Pakod Yifkod passed down from Yosef to his brothers and he kept the promise because that was the positive Mesorah about Yosef that he was taught by his parents, both of whom came from Beis Levi.
Levi who was Yosef's greatest enemy, in the end, through Teshuva, became his friend. This was a reflection of their great names and how their reputation grew during their stay in Egypt. That is why the Midrash of Tov Shem Mishemen Tov is used in Shemos and not in Vayigash. By the beginning of Sefer Shemos, their reputations as Baalei Teshuva and Shivtei Kah were well established.
The Torah is telling us that "These are the great Shemos, reputations of the Bnay Yaakov who acquired their reputations through their stay in Egypt.

 אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא. עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָּא. תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵידָה. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר מִדַּיָּא. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא. אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא. עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָּא. תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵידָה. שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא. שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה. חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה. אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת. שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת. שְׁנֵי לוּחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ:
חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא שׁוּנְרָא, וְאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא כַלְבָּא

What about Shmos?  Shmos is characteristic for the second book!  I would never imagine that Shmos contains something other than technical.
Rashi, however, betrays the secret.  Rashi was motivated to explain that the children of Israel are named during their lifetime in sedra Vayigash and here again -- to announce how G-d was fond of them.  What basically does a name indicate?  It means individuality!  It is singleness, uniqueness.  Basically, a name is indicative of being individual, different -- one person from another.  It is ego awareness.  It differs from individual to individual.  I recall that years ago when I was in Eretz, I was taken to a kibbutz, a socialistic one.  My guide showed me a cow which he called, “Rachel”.  I intuitively stepped aside.  “Is that against you rabbis too?” he asked.  It is wrong because individuality belongs to a human who cannot be replaced.  If someone died and was an ignorant person, without character -- not worthy of respect, it is still a loss.  Every individual has been endowed with “Zelem Elokim,” no matter who he is.  That is why Torah introduced “avaluth” - mourning.  There is a loss which cannot be replaced.  Therefore, even to the point of M’chalal Shabbat every individual must be preserved.  Reuven is not like Shimon.  That is why man feels lonely and it is most typified in time of sickness.  That is why Torah introduced Bikur Cholim, Hachnosas Orchim, Avalus -- with such great importance.  A dog has great friendship for his master but the second one will have the same friendship.  Therefore, a dog has no name; it is only a species.  Therefore, no “Avalus” for a dog, no matter how devoted.  That is why Yehadus was so conscious in recording K’suvos in Hebrew according to the exact name.  The name means something.  How was Abraham elevated to spiritual greatness?  By changing his name.  Rambam says that where Jacbo is designated as Ya’akov it is typical of one destiny.  Where it is Yisroel, it is another destiny.

, וְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא חוּטְרָא, וְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא נוּרָא
When Moshe encountered the burning bush, the Torah describes the event as the bush was burning inh fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Rashi interprets the words Labas Aish as 1) the flame 2) the fire was in the heart, or center of the bush. The exterior of the bush was not on fire. Many interpret Moshe's question as "why is the bush not consumed"?  Another interpretation of his question is why does the fire remain in the middle, why doesn't it spread outward? The angel of God spoke to Moshe from within the heart of the bush, as if there were concentric circles comprising the extremities of the bush, the center of the bush within that, and the angel at the burning epicenter. What is the symbolism of the bush?
The Rav explained that even though there was an intense fire at its core, the fire did not affect the rest of the bush. The same was true of the Jew in Egypt. Hashem was showing Moshe that while externally they are the slaves to Paroh, internally they are yearning to be free and their aspirations are not those of slaves. In the center of the personality of the Jew, the fire burns. Often the fire does not extend beyond the core and leaves the outer parts of the Jew cold. Moshe's experiences with Bnay Yisrael led him to doubt their worthiness and readiness to be free. The bush showed him that it is possible for one bush among many to be different and unique, to have a flame ablaze inside while outwardly appearing to be unaffected. God showed Moshe that the Jew is the same as this bush. He is surrounded by Egyptians and externally he appears to have fit into his niche, yet the internal flame can be exposed to reveal the true personality of the Jew. Throughout the ages the Jew has been accused of various characteristics that, externally, have pained him very negatively. The burning bush says that the Jew may be abused externally, but internally he remains pure and aflame seeking Hashem.

, וְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא מַיָּא, וְכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא תוֹרָא, וְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא הַשּׁוֹחֵט, וְשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא:
חייב לעסוק בהלכות פסח וביציאת מצרים כל הלילה עד שיחטפנו שינה, ורבים נוהגים לומר שיר השירים אחר הסדר. ולא יקרא קריאת שמע על מטתו אלא פרשה ראשונה של שמע, ולא שאר המזמורים שאומרים, כי ליל שמורים הוא לה':

Sin causes the shechina to be exiled, when we are not worthy we can not see the revelation of the divine presence. Before Adam's original sin, God wanted that man should be His neighbor, as it were. He would be close to him. But man became estranged from himself and from God. Had Adam been repentant he could have saved the situation. But the lack of contrition together with his blaming God for giving him a wife sealed his fate. There was no recognition and admission of sin. We express our longing and sense of nostalgia for God. We promise that we would not make such a mistake again. Even though Adam did not know this secret, I know it and I would not hide myself when I hear the sound of God strolling through the Garden of Eden. This sense of longing for and seeking of God is represented by Shir Hashirim.

addendum Omer

Rav Hershel Schachter has reecorded some of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s beautiful Shiurim regarding Sefirat Haomer in his new Sefer entitled Peninei Harav (pp.226-248).  In this essay, we shall present some of the profound thoughts contained in these Shiurim, which will enrich our performance of this Mitzvah.
Sefira and Aveilut
The Gemara (Menachot 66a) cites the opinion of Ameimar that when the Beit Hamikdash is not functioning the Mitzvah of Sefirat Haomer constitutes only a rabbinic obligation, “Zecher Lemikdash”, to recall the Beit Hamikdash.  Sefirat Haomer is inexorably linked to the Beit Hamikdash since the offering of the Korban Omer is the catalyst for the Mitzvah of Sefirat Haomer (Vayikra 23:15 and Devarim 16:9).  Ameimar believes since the Mitzvah today is simply Zecher Lemikdash it is necessary only to count the days of the Omer and not the weeks.  For example, on the ninth day of the Omer, one would say only “today is the ninth day of the Omer” and would not add “that is one week and two days to the Omer”, according to Ameimar.
Rav Soloveitchik raises a difficulty with this opinion.  He asks, is it so difficult to “count the weeks” that Ameimar felt it necessary to “give us a break” and waive the requirement to do so?  The Rav answers by citing a question posed by the Ba’al HaMaor at the conclusion of the latter’s commentary to Masechet Pesachim.  He asks why we don’t recite the Bracha of Shehechiyanu when we begin the Mitzvah of Sefirat Haomer.  The Ba’al HaMaor explains that Sefirat Haomer is a sad activity as it recalls the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.  The Rav explains the opinion of Ameimar in a similar manner.  Ameimar believes that today we should omit counting the weeks in order to demonstrate that we are not observing the Mitzvah of Sefirat Haomer in its proper manner (i.e., together with offering the Korban Haomer). 
Rav Soloveitchik explains that there are two types of remembering the Beit Hamikdash.  One is to remember the glory days of the Beit Hamikdash and the other is to remember the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.  Our eating the Korech (Pesachim 116) and taking the Lulav the last six days of Sukkot (Rosh Hashanah 30a) recall the grandeur of the Mikdash.  The obligation to leave a small portion of our house unpainted (Bava Batra 60) and limiting our enjoyment of music (Gittin 7) are examples of remembrances of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.  We classify Sefirat Haomer in the latter category.  It is for this reason that after we have counted the Omer, we request of Hashem to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash (see Tosafot Megillah 20b s.v. V’Chol).  In addition, says Rav Soloveitchik, this is why it is appropriate for us to mourn during the period of Sefirat Haomer for the loss of Rabi Akiva’s students, since in our times there is an element of sadness involved in Sefirat Haomer.

The Reason For Sefira
The Rambam, in his philosophical work the Moreh Nevuchim, (3:43) offers a reason for the Mitzvah of Sefirat Haomer, noting that Matan Torah was the goal of Yetzi’at Mitzrayim.  The Rambam explains that we anxiously await our commemoration of Matan Torah (Shavuot) after we have commemorated Yetzi’at Mitzrayim on Pesach.  Just as one who anticipates meeting a loved one counts the weeks and days until he sees him or her, so too we anxiously count the days and weeks until we will reenact Matan Torah on Shavuot.
The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 306), though, poses a question on the Rambam’s explanation.  He points out that someone anticipating meeting a loved one will count down the days until the appointed time.  He will count five days until the meeting and then four days until the meeting, etc.  We, however, do not count forty days until Shavuot, thirty- nine days until Shavuot, etc.; instead, we count upwards.  According to the Rambam’s approach, we should have been counting down the time until Shavuot.  The Chinuch answers that since the road to Shavuot is long, it would discourage us if we began counting forty-nine days until Shavuot.  It is more palatable to commence the countdown by focusing on what we have “accomplished”, one day has passed, two days have passed, etc.  Even when we get closer to Shavuot we continue to “count up” because we do not change counting style in the middle of the Sefira.
The Rav notes that the approach of the Chinuch is reminiscent of a parable presented by the famed Dubner Maggid in another context.  The Dubner Maggid was asked why in the past few centuries there have been Gedolim who have publicized their calculations when the Mashiach will arrive, if the Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b) specifically condemns those who make such calculations.  The Dubner Maggid responded with a parable about a father and son who were taking a trip from Vilna to Warsaw.  A few minutes after leaving Vilna the boy asked when should we get to Vilna.  The father responded that the question was inappropriate.  A few minutes later, the child again asked “are we there yet?”.  The father again told him that it is inappropriate to pose this question and he asked the son to refrain from asking this question further. 
Hours later, the father asked the wagon driver how far they were from Vilna and the wagon driver responded.  The son upon hearing his father’s question was puzzled.  The son asked his father why when he asked the question how far they were from their destination he was rebuffed and yet the father posed the same question to the wagon driver.  The father responded that when one is so far from his destination, it is not appropriate to inquire how far we are from the end of the trip.  However, when one is drawing close to the end of the travel, then it is a relevant question to know when we expect to reach the destination.  Similarly, said the Dubner Maggid, at the time of the Gemara it was inappropriate to speculate about the time of the arrival of the Mashiach because there was a long road ahead.  In later generations, though, we are close to the arrival of the Mashiach and thus it is appropriate to investigate when we should expect the Mashiach to arrive. 
Rav Soloveitchik, though, presents another explanation for why we count the Omer upwards and not downwards.  He cites the Ran (at the conclusion of his commentary to Masechet Pesachim) who states that in the absence of the Beit Hamikdash and the Korban Omer we count the Omer today to reenact the counting of days after we left Mitzra’im until we received the Torah.  Rav Soloveitchik suggests that Hashem did not tell the Jews when they left Mitzra’im the precise date when they will receive the Torah.  The basis for this suggestion is that we find that Hashem did not tell Avraham his destination when He commanded him to move to Israel and later to bind Yitzchak at one of the mountains that I will show you.  Similarly, Hashem does not reveal the place where the Beit Hamikdash will be built in Sefer Devarim.  Rather, the Torah refers repeatedly to Jerusalem as the place that Hashem will choose.  We, in turn, do not know the time when Hashem will send the Mashiach, but we wait patiently with great faith for his arrival.  According to the Rav’s suggestion, the Jews had to count upwards to Matan Torah because they did not know exactly when they would receive the Torah.  Today that we reenact our ancestors countdown to Matan Torah, we also count upwards as our forefathers did after they left Mitzrayim.  Thereby we experience an element of uncertainty, which is an integral component of religious experience.

The Chassidic Practice to Count Sefira Towards the Conclusion of the Seder
Chassidim (as well as some Sephardic Jews) count the Sefira towards the conclusion of the Seder.  This practice appears puzzling (as noted by the Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim 489:11) in light our general practice to try to perform Mitzvot at the earliest opportunity, Zerizim Makdimim Lemitzvot.  For example, we recite Hallel during Shacharit and do not delay until Musaf because of this principle (Rosh Hashana 32b).  Moreover, the Mitzva of Sefirat Haomer is performed more times a year than the Mitzvot of the Seder, so the rule of Tadir Usheeino Tadir, Tadir Kodem (the Mitzva that is performed more often is performed first, Pesachim 114a) should direct us to count the Sefira before we begin the Seder.  Moreover, we are not permitted to eat until we have performed a Mitzvah whose time will soon past lest we forget to perform the Mitzvah.  Examples of this principle are the prohibition to eat before we perform Bedikat Chametz (Pesachim 4a) and the prohibition to eat before we take the Lulav (Sukka 38a).  Hence, it would appear to be forbidden to partake of the food at the Seder until we have counted the Sefira. 
Rav Soloveitchik explains the Chassidic practice based on an insight of the Sefer HaChinuch.  The Chinuch (ibid) asks why we don’t begin to count the Omer from the first night of Pesach.  Since Sefirat Haomer constitutes a bridge between Pesach and Shavuot why do we delay the commencement of the count until the second night?  The Chinuch responds that Hashem designated the first night to focus exclusively on our celebration of the exodus from Mitzrayim, without our having to note by counting the Omer that our celebration is incomplete because we have yet to reach our final destination.  Similarly, explains the Rav, Chassidim feel that if we count the Sefira before the second Seder, then it would be the equivalent of stating that the following celebration is incomplete because we have not reached our final destination (see the Aruch Hashulchan ad. loc. for a similar explanation).  We note that the Rav’s explanation of this Chassidic practice is reminiscent of the Rav’s explanation of many Chassidim to eat outside the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeret.  He explains that the eating in the Sukkah would interfere with the celebration of Shmini Atzeret, which is particularly intense for Chassidim (see Rav Reichman’s presentation of Rav Soloveitchik’s Shiurim to Masechet Sukkah p.98).

The Pharisee-Saducce Dispute About the Commencement of Sefirat Haomer
A persistent dispute during the days of the Second Beit Hamikdash was the date of the commencement of Sefirat Haomer.  The heretical and deviationist Saducees claimed that a literal explanation of Vayikra 23:15 teaches that Sefirat Haomer begins “Mimocharat Hashabbat”, the day after the first Shabbat after the first day of Pesach.  We (the Pharisees) reject this interpretation as it runs counter to our tradition that the word Shabbat in this verse refers to the first day of Pesach (see Ramban ad. loc. for further discussion of this issue).  The Rav asks why did Hashem choose to use the word Shabbat to describe the first day of Pesach.  He answers that Shabbat and Pesach teach a very similar message.  Just as the message of Shabbat is that Hashem created the world, so too the message of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim is to confirm that Hashem created and directs the world (as explained at length in the Ramban’s commentary to the Torah, at the end of Parashat Bo).

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