Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Shevii Shel Pesach 5776

Shevii Shel Pesach is one of those Yomim Tovim that defies description. Essentially, this day is merely another day of Pesach, where we recite Kiddush, eat meat and drink wine, and recite Hallel and Mussaf. What distinguishes this day from the rest of Pesach?

The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 20:5) states that HaShem orchestrated Krias Yam Suf, the splitting of the Sea, so that the Jews should not forget that HaShem is their savior and they should cry out to him. I wonder, though, how this was justified? The Jewish People were deathly afraid of the Egyptians pursuing them, so could there not have been a less stressful method of reminding them that they must pray to HaShem?

The answer to this question is that the Egyptian exile was symbolized in the word רְדוּ, descend, which Yaakov instructed his sons when there was a hunger in the Land of Canaan. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 91:2) states that the gematria of the word רְדוּ is 210, reflecting the amount of the years that the Jewish People sojourned in Egypt. The implication of this Medrash is that the Jews had to descend to Egypt, and apparently the descent continued until the splitting of the Sea. While the Jewish People were certainly on “the ascent,” i.e. they ascended from the depravity of the Egyptian society, they still were required to descend further. This descent, however, was not one of lowering themselves spiritually. On the contrary, HaShem instructed the Jewish People to travel into the Sea and trust in HaShem that He would save them.

It is noteworthy that when describing the splitting of the Sea, Dovid HaMelech states (Tehillim 114:4) הֶהָרִים רָקְדוּ כְאֵילִים גְּבָעוֹת כִּבְנֵי צֹאן, the mountains danced like young rams, the hills like young sheep. The word רָקְדוּ contains the word רְדוּ and the letter ק. This hints to the idea that the descent into Egypt and the “descent” into the Sea was for the purpose of praising HaShem. The Gemara (Menachos 43b) requires that one recite 100 blessings a day, and this is reflected in the letter ק, which equals in gematria 100. Additionally, it is said (Verse 7) מִלִּפְנֵי אָדוֹן חוּלִי אָרֶץ מִלִּפְנֵי אֱ-לוֹהַּ יַעֲקֹב, from before the Master, Who created the earth, from before the G-d of Yaakov. The first letters of these words equal in gematria 100, also reflecting the praise to HaShem.

Thus, although on the surface the Jewish People had good reason to be frightened, HaShem was actually giving them an opportunity to praise Him further. As Dovid HaMelech states (Tehillim 130:1) מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְ-הֹ-וָ-ה, from the depths I called out to You, HaShem. It is fascinating that the word מִמַּעֲמַקִּים contains the word עמק, which equals in gematria 210, and the word יָּם, which means sea, alluding to the idea that it was specifically from the depths of the 210 years of Egyptian exile and from descending into the Sea that the Jews cried out to HaShem. It is specifically when a person feels “down and out” that he has the greatest opportunity to praise HaShem and thank Him for all the miracles that He performs for him.

We should merit this Shevii Shel Pesach to ascend from our slumber of the exile and witness the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.,

Have a Sea Splitting and Ascending Yom Tov and Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Shevii Shel Pesach 5776

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