Monday, April 17, 2006

Bris and Pessach

Bris on Hol Hamoed Pesach

I said this Dvar Torah yesterday at the bris of my son Shlomo Simcha.

It is a very interesting experience making a bris on pesach. Just trying to figure out what you can serve and what needs to be done is an experience, aside from arranging the bris itself.. But we see many connections between bris milah and pesach. The Torah right away when commanding us about pessach, connects the two. The Torah tells us that an "orel" (uncircumcised) cannot eat from the Paschal Lamb. It does not say someone who does not keep shabbos, it does not say someone who worships idols, or any other sin. It says an uncircumcised person cannot eat. What is the connection?

We see many other connections when looking at the midrashim and other sources. For example, at the shalom zachor, R' Dan Segal showed me a tosefos in Bava Kamma (80a) that says the reason we make a seuda for a newborn baby (he said this was referring to the shalom zachor, but tosefos just says seuda) is because the baby escaped (hebrew word was "nimlat") from the mothers womb, so we make a seuda to celebrate that. That is similar to pesach, he said, when the Jews escaped from mitzrayim.
Another midrash I saw says that Hashem gave two mitzvot for us to busy ourselves with and thereby bring the geula - pesach and Mila.
We have to understand why these two mitzvot are connected.

I think the reason is that these two mitzvot have a certain uniqueness about them. Their purpose. The mitzva of Pesach is twofold - the korban pesach which is eaten while fulfilling another mitzva - relating the story of the Exodus to your children, the next generation. It is all about tradition and continuity. We remember the past in order to find the way to continuing it to the future. We relate the traditions of Judaism to our next generations, who will relate it to their children..
Bris milah as well. Bris milah is about separating ourselves from the gentiles (among other reasons). By performing the bris milah, we are separating ourselves from the goyim and showing we are different, but we are also connecting ourselves to the past. We are connecting ourselves to Abraham our forefather in the exact limb of our body that promises us the future. We are dealing again in tradition.

When we deal honestly in tradition and pass it on to our children, that gives us the opportunity to bring the geula.
May we be zocheh to bring the geula very soon and eat from the zevochim and pesachim in the beis Hamikdash, the way we were meant to celebrate Pesach.