Friday 26 April 2024

Shabbos Chol HaMoed - Acharon Shel Pesach Tzetl 5784

5:21pm - Candle Lighting, Friday
6:17pm - Shabbat Concludes, Saturday
5:18pm - Candle Lighting, Sunday
6:15pm - Candle Lighting, Monday (after)
6:14pm - Yom Tov Concludes, Tuesday
(Melbourne Australia)
Eruv Status: KOSHER
Good Shabbos! Good YomTov!

Please click here to view the Yeshivah Shule Tzetel for Shabbos Chol Hamoed, Shevi'i and Acharon Shel Pesach. Please click here to view the PDFs of Weekly Publications. 
Please here to view a Guide to Sefiras Haomer and the period between Pesach and Shavuos. With thanks to Rabbi Lesches of Young Yeshivah for compiling and sharing this with us.

Shabbat, Chol Hamoed, Pesach: Exodus 33:12 - 34:26
Shabbat, Chol Hamoed, Pesach: Numbers 28:19-25

On the SEVENTH DAY OF PASSOVER we read how on this day the sea split for the Children of Israel and drowned the pursuing Egyptians, and the "Song at the Sea" sung by the people upon their deliverance (Exodus 13:17-15:26; full summary with commentary here).

On the EIGHTH DAY OF PASSOVER we read Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17. Like the reading for the second day, it catalogs the annual cycle of festivals, their special observances, and the offerings brought on these occasions to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Eighth Day's special connection with the Future Redemption is reflected in the Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) for this day (Isaiah 10:32-12:6).

Ezekiel 37:1-14
We read of Ezekiel's amazing "vision of the dry bones." Ezekiel finds himself in a valley covered in dry bones. G‑d tells him to tell the bones that He would cause them to reassemble themselves, grow flesh and come to life, and so it was.
After the newly constituted people come to life, G‑d tells Ezekiel that the people he sees represent the Jewish people, who have been reduced to a hopeless and lifeless skeleton of their former glory. Yet G‑d will breathe new life into them, and they will once again flourish.

II Samuel 22:1-51.
This week's haftorah describes the song King David composed in his old age, echoing the weekly Torah reading, where Moses delivers his parting words to the Jewish nation in song form.

David's song expresses gratitude to G‑d for saving him from all his enemies. He starts with the famous words, "The L-rd is my rock and my fortress." He goes on to describe the pain and hardships he encountered and reiterates that he always turned to G‑d in his moments of distress. He recounts G‑d's reaction to those who tormented him: "The Lord thundered from heaven; and the Most High gave forth His voice. And He sent out arrows and He scattered them, lightning and He discomfited them. . . I have pursued my enemies and have destroyed them; never turning back until they were consumed."

The King attributes his salvation to his uprightness in following G‑d's ways: "The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He recompensed me..."

The song ends with David's expression of thankfulness: "Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the nations, and to Your name I will sing praises. He gives great salvation to His king, and He performs kindness to His anointed; to David and to his seed, forevermore."

Isaiah 10:32-12:16
This haftarah is a prophecy by Isaiah regarding the messianic time to come. He foretells of "a staff from the shoot of Jesse," father of King David, upon whom the Divine spirit will rest and who will be able to judge honestly by way of smell.

The prophet tells us that "the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with the kid goat; the calf and the young lion will graze together, and a young lad shall lead them."

He continues to describe how G‑d will gather the exiled Jews from all over the world, to bring them back home to the Holy Land. In the newly constituted Jewish kingdom, the ancient rivalry between Judah and Ephraim will end, and they will join forces to subdue their historic enemies.

At that time, Israel will sing G‑d's praises, thanking Him for all that he did and does for them, even that which had once appeared to be punishment but has now been revealed to be goodness in disguise.


Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to G‑d, and they spoke, saying . . . (Exodus 15:1)

How did they render the song? Rabbi Akiva says: Moses said "I will sing to G‑d," and they responded "I will sing to G‑d"; Moses said "For He has triumphed gloriously," and they responded "I will sing to G‑d" (and so on with each verse—Moses would sing a phrase, and they would respond with the refrain "I will sing to G‑d").

Rabbi Eliezer says: Moses said "I will sing to G‑d," and they responded "I will sing to G‑d"; Moses said "For He has triumphed gloriously," and they responded "For He has triumphed gloriously" (and so on—they repeated each phrase after Moses).

Rabbi Nechemiah says: Moses sang the opening words of the song, after which they each sang it on their own.

(Talmud and Rashi, Sotah 30b)

These three opinions represent three levels of leadership.

Rabbi Akiva describes an ideal in which a people completely abnegate their individuality to the collective identity embodied by the leader. Moses alone sang the nation's gratitude to G‑d, their experience of redemption, and their vision of their future as G‑d's people. The people had nothing further to say as individuals, other than to affirm their unanimous assent to what Moses was expressing.

At first glance, this seems the ultimate in unity: hundreds of thousands of hearts and minds yielding to a single program and vision. Rabbi Eliezer, however, argues that this is but a superficial unity—an externally imposed unity of the moment, rather than an inner, enduring unity. When people set aside their own thoughts and feelings to accept what is dictated to them by a higher authority, they are united only in word and deed; their inner selves remain different and distinct. Such a unity is inevitably short-lived: sooner or later their intrinsic differences and counter-aims will assert themselves, and fissures will begin to appear also in their unanimous exterior. So Rabbi Eliezer interprets the Torah's description of Israel's song to say that they did not merely affirm Moses' song with a refrain, but repeated his words themselves. Each individual Jew internalized Moses' words, so that they became the expression of his own understanding and feelings. The very same words assumed hundreds of thousands of nuances of meaning, as they were absorbed by each of the minds, and articulated by each of the mouths, of the people of Israel.

Rabbi Nechemiah, however, is still not satisfied. If Israel repeated these verses after Moses, this would imply that their song did not stem from the very deepest part of themselves. For if the people were truly one with Moses and his articulation of the quintessence of Israel, why would they need to hear their song from his lips before they could sing it themselves? It was enough, says Rabbi Nechemiah, that Moses started them off with the first words of the song, so as to stimulate their deepest experience of the miracle, with the result that each of them sang the entire song on their own.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

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