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Countdown to Pesach 2: A Place to Call Your Own Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

seder plateMitzvot 112 and 113 are that “No Chametz may be seen in your possession on Pesach,” and, “No Chametz may be found in your possession on Pesach.” Where were the Jews protected? They were found and protected in their homes. Place plays an important role. And yet, what did they do that night? They left their place. So why do you tell me at the beginning of the night how important place is and that I have to create my place, only to tell me that I go out and leave my place and go and wander in the desert? You just told me about the importance of a place and then you are taking me into the middle of the desert where I am not going to have any place. Meaning that we can all create our own place. In other words, even if your chametz is not in your house, if it is in someone else’s house, where your chametz is, is your place.

 

Place is an incredible idea. Have you ever gone back to visit a place where you were when you were younger and you can recreate the feelings? The place has special feelings to you. Which is why, if let us say you visit a place where a miracle once happened to you, you make a Beracha. There is a special Beracha you say, “Who performed a miracle for me in this place.” If you pass a place where there used to be idols you say, “Blessed be the once who destroyed idols from this place.” This is something you can do in places all over Israel. You can make that Beracha a million times. If you pass a place where a miracle happened to the Jewish people then you may a Beracha. (What about the Warsaw ghetto? Would you make a Beracha or not? Do you consider that a miracle?) All sorts of really interesting places are incredibly important.

Where else is important? The Beit Hamikdash, especially, the Holy of Holies. The holiest person on the holiest day goes into the holiest place. So time, space, and human beings meet. And yet in the second Beit Hamikdash most of the Kohanim only lived one time. Only lived through one Yom Kippur. So they never had the experience of going back to a place, which meant that Yom Kippur was never complete because Yom Kippur has to have a sense of going back to a certain place. Place plays an incredible role in Judaism. What was the main cause of the destruction of the first temple? That people did not go to the first Temple. They used to build altars in their backyards instead of going to the Temple. No one had an appreciation of place.

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