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The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Kadesh 2

The Meshech Chachma explains in a different context that there is a powerful idea in the Kadesh itself. In a slightly different approach than the Or Hachaim, he says that there is something in us that led God to choose us over the other nations of the world. He bases it on the four terms used to describe redemption. “I will take them out;

I will save them; I will take them; and I will redeem them.” Each corresponding to one of the four cups of wine. Meshech Chachma insists that there is a clear correlation between a specific cup and each term of redemption. “I will take them out,” refers to Kiddush, or sanctification.


Kedusha is always associated with our being able to preserve boundaries that exist, or to create boundaries that will protect us. The places where boundaries of Kedusha exist are within relationships. The Midrash says that there were four things that the Jews did or didn’t do to deserve redemption. One of them was that they set up clear boundaries of relationships. It’s incredible that in 210 years of enslavement, there wasn’t any intermarriage, although we know that there was one instance involving Shlomit bat Divri.

So Kadesh corresponds to the fact that the Jews had an innate sense of sanctity, and because of this, it was possible for God to take them out as they were. So God is in effect saying to them, “You have an inherent sense of Kedusha. So I am going to give you the opportunity to sanctify other things. I am going to teach you how to take those innate qualities in you and apply them, and use them. I am going to give you Kiddush to remind you of that something that you have and to give you the opportunity to use it.

This is real freedom. It is not like someone who has strengths and is never given the opportunity to use them. It’s not like someone in the Soviet Union who is a great artist, but because he doesn’t paint what the government wants him to paint, he’s can’t paint. This freedom begins with the opportunity to take something you have and use it to nurture, that which is inside of you. But it’s more. It is that God is saying, ‘what you have deep inside of you, I am going to nurture so that you can use it.” It is like telling a child, “I see that you are very artistic. So I am not only going to give you the opportunity to be artistic, but I am going to provide you with whatever you need to be artistic. You need pencils, crayons, and paper? You need classes? You need pottery lessons? I will provide you with what you need. I am going to nurture you.” You’re not telling the child, “I want you to be this or that.” You are telling him, “this is where your natural inclination is. Here, use it, and I will nurture them.”

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