Pesach: Kedushat Levi:”Why is Pesach called Pesach?”

Nov 17, 2014

Pesach Source Guide
Kedushat Levi: Parshat Bo, p. 79
About the author: Short biography and Story: “From Love to Awesome Love” from the Nishmos Chayim Chassidus web site, by DN staff member Rabbi Binyomin Adilman. A Pesach story Of the Czar and Chametz from the Judaism Alive site
[Rough translation appears in boldface, additions and comments in plain font. Line numbers in the Hebrew source appear in parenthesis.]


“You should say, ‘It is a Pesach sacrifice to Hashem. (Shemot 12:27)” Question: Why is it that we are accustomed to call the holiday “Pesach” while the Torah calls it “Chag Hamatzot” (The Holiday of Matzot)? If the Torah always refers to it as Chag Hamatzot, why call it anything else? (1-5)

It says (Shir Hashirim 6:3), “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” This means, that we speak the praises of the Holy One, blessed be He, and he speaks the praises of Israel. Similarly, we wear tefillin that contain within them the praises of the Holy One, Blessed be He (see below), and He wears tefillin that contain within them the praises of Israel. (5-9)

We can now understand the passage in Tanna D’vei Eliahu that says it is a mitzva to praise Israel and that G-d is pleased with one who praises Israel. The explanation seems to be as follows:

It is forbidden halakhically to break concentration from our tefillin. It is a mitzva for everybody to be constantly involved in tefillin. That means to either speak the praises of Israel — the tefillin of the Holy One, blessed be He, as the gemara (Berakhot 6a) says, that G-d’s tefillin say within them, “Who is like Your people Israel, one nation on earth. (Shmuel II 7:23)” — or the praises of G-d — the tefillin of Israel that have within them the praises of G-d, the portions of Shema that speaks of G-d’s unity and V’haya Ki Yeviakha (Shemot 13:5) that speaks of the exodus from Egypt. (9-18)

It ends up that we are constantly praising G-d and He is constantly praising Israel. Now, the holiday is called The Holiday of Hamatzot in praise of Israel. See Rashi’s comment on the verse, “They baked the dough . . . as matzot . . . and they did not prepare provisions. (Shemot 12:39)” He comments: This tells of the praises of Israel . . . as it says in the Prophets, “I remember the kindness of your youth your bridal love, following Me into the desert . . . (Yirmiyahu 2:2)” See the passage there. It is, then, called the Holiday of Matzot in praise of Israel who baked matzot. Therefore, the Torah refers to the holiday as the holiday of Matzot, as if G-d, may He be blessed, is praising Israel. (18-26)

We, however, call the holiday Pesach in order to praise G-d, as the verse says, “You should say, ‘It is a Pesach sacrifice to G-d who passed over . . . (Shemot 12:27).’” which is a praise of G-d, He should be blessed. This is in line with the verse, “I am to my beloved and He is to me. (Shir Hashirim 6:3)” (26-end)

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