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  • Shema: Whose Voice 3

    There are times when we are praying when we don’t really feel that we are speaking as an accu...

  • Shema: 5: Whose Voice

    A famous Midrash tells us that Jacob, when he was on his deathbed, planned to reveal to his c...

Table Talk: First Day Pesach Print E-mail

Table TalkI. Why did Isaac choose to begin his blessing to the one he thought was Esau with the blessing of dew? Isaac understood that rain is dependent on our ability to stir the heavens through

our efforts below, and that Esau would not work to reach upwards to heaven. Isaac therefore chose the blessing of dew, which is constant, even without our efforts below, so that his son would have security. (Shem Mishmuel, Pesach 5672) With this in mind, consider why we recite the prayer for dew on the first day of Pesach? Is it related to the redemption coming even to those who did not necessarily deserve such a gift?

II. The verse says, “'Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled; for my head is filled with dew,” (Song of Songs 5:2) and Rashi explains that God derives much desire from Abraham, whose actions were as sweet as dew. It seems that there is a connection between desire and dew: just as dew has no flavor, “ta’am,” so, too, “Ratzon,” or desire, is not always based on “ta’am,” or reason. The blessing of dew requires only that we open the closed parts of our hearts to receive the gifts of the Divine “Ratzon,” or desire. Since Pesach is the time of Chesed, giving without reason, it is the most appropriate time to pray for the dew that has no Ta’am, reason or taste. (Shem Mishmuel, Pesach 5673) Where in the Seder do we open ourselves to receive such blessing?

III.The Oral Law is infinitely expansive as the attribute of Chesed – Nurturing Life Force. In this quality is reflects the Chesed of dew. We therefore pray on Pesach, the time of Chesed for dew, meaning for blessing in our study of the Oral Law. (Pri Tzaddik, Pesach 9) Where in the Haggadah do we find a stress on the Oral Law? Hint: The Talmud always begins with “Ta Sh’ma,” “Come and hear.” The Zohar uses “Ta Chazi,” “Come and see.” The Haggadah uses a different approach.

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