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Haggadah-Freeing the Imprisoned

The 5th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt, the Ohev Yisrael: The main reason why man was created stems from the fact that he was sent down from a very high place. Man’s soul is carved out and engraved from God’s Throne of Glory, a place of holiness and true good. It comes to this physical World of Action, to a lowly, degraded level, in order to give pleasure and delight to God. This delight originates when man serves God in the physical world, keeping the Torah and Commandments for His sake, and illuminating his soul with the light of the Torah.


In this manner, man attaches himself to the Good, to the Source of all pleasure and serenity. He subjugates evil, causing it to be dominated by good. In so doing, he attracts all the good, wherever it may be in the four corners of the earth, and attaches it to its Root and Source. He thus illuminates the Sources on high with the simple Light of the Infinite Being, bringing delight and sustenance to all universes.

An individual can thus work all his life to experience the sweetness of the hidden Good, being repulsed by evil and choosing the good. He thus gathers all the portions of good from where ever they may have been scattered, from where they existed in a lowly state under the dominion of Others.

When the righteous man worships and studies Torah for God’s sake, he becomes like a magnet. He attracts all the good portions and holy Sparks, wherever they are scattered among the Outside Forces. Each holy Spark is then lifted up from the lowest level. It can raise its self from the Source of Good, and it is like a person rescued from captivity and imprisonment. Up until now, that holy Spark was locked up and imprisoned in a lowly, evil place.

When the Good Portion experiences such an elevation, its longing to rise to the Source becomes very intense. It wants to attach itself to the Root of Good, so that it will be able to feel the sweetness and the light that comes from the illumination of the Infinite Being.

A person can thus elevate such a holy Spark. That Spark can then experience the highest pleasure, and it gives thanks and praises the God of the universe. All the Portions of good that escaped from the realm of evil also give thanks and praise. There is no good or pleasure like the holiness of God’s Name and the illumination of the Infinite Being, which fills all worlds and gives them all existence.

When God sees the Portions of good and holiness that are elevated from the hand of the of good and holiness that are elevated from the hand of the Oppressors, He has the greatest possible delight.

Through his worship and the light of his Torah study, the righteous person returns all the holy Sparks to their Root in good. Through this worship, where everything is brought back to its Root and Source, the King of the Universe receives His desired delight from His handiwork. Because of this delight, He made all universes, and gave us the Torah and its commandments. God wanted to give Israel merit so that they would be worthy of the light of the Torah and Commandments when they observe them with burning enthusiasm, through their love and fear of God. Their souls are then illuminated by the Roots of holiness, and, as a result, all the Branches of holiness are elevated. All the holy Sparks are then also elevated from the deepest pit to rise and set at the head of the Holy realm.

These Sparks and then form a Crown for God. This is a result of His delight, which is increased through the elevation of the holy Sparks. When God’s name is glorified, this is His crown and diadem. This is the meaning of the teaching that God makes crowns for the letters (Menachot 29b). God makes these crowns out of the Portions of holiness in good that were trapped like captives in the hand of the that were trapped like captives in the hand of the Oppressor. Through his worship and the light of his Torah study, the righteous person illuminates everything, and brings the Portions of holiness and good back on high. As a result of this elevation, the good Portions can rise and experience a great longing. This longing then allows them to fly higher and higher, until they become a “crown on the head of the righteous.” Out of this, God makes a crown on the letters.

The letters of the Torah are the Life Force of all universes. These crowns, however are even higher than the letters. The crowns on top of the letters are derived from the Portions of good that have been elevated from the realm of Evil. This is the reason why certain letters have little “crowns” one then when written in the Torah. These crowns originate when the righteous person breaks the power of evil and extracts the Life Force from it, ringing it back to the Source of all Good. (Ohev Yisrael;va’Etchanan)

These ideas are acted out as we reenact the suffering of slavery and transform it into holiness and freedom through our Mitzvot and discussions.

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