Every year I am amazed at the high level of preparation of our students for Pesach. The divrei Torah on the Haggodo, the mastery of hilchos Pesach, and the variety of projects made in our younger grades all truly enhance the spirit of Yom Tov for all our families. Pesach is an important time for parents to realize that aside from the variety of customs that we perform before and after Yom Tov, Pesach has a unique and special goal especially connected to children. It is the mitzvah of vehigadta levin’cha, transmitting the mesorah of Yetzias Mitzrayim and its underlying principles of emunah to our children from generation to generation in a meaningful way.
My young granddaughter called us this week and said, “Zaidy and Bubby, I took a bath with all of my toys.” We heard that she actually needed a real bath after she had finished cleaning all the toys. We can see, however, that parents can expose their children to an entry-level appreciation of Pesach and its customs even at a very young age.
One of the challenges that our children face is a world that often seems to be in great turmoil both on a national-political level as well as in our personal lives. Families struggle financially, some face illness of those close to them, and many are influenced by secular culture and the street. Some facing these challenges may even question if Hashem is personally involved in our day-to-day lives.
Every day, and then once again on Shvi’i shel Pesach, we recite Vayaaminu baShem uveMoshe avdo. The Jewish people are referred to as the children (bonim) of Hashem. We see this in a variety of sources in our daily tefillos, such as Hamaavir bonov bein gizrei Yam Suf and Malchuscha ra’u bonecha. These verses describe Hashem’s tremendous love for us as His children. The midrash comments that as the Jews entered the sea there was a path for each tribe and sweet waters came out of the walls to nourish us. We had, at this point, transitioned from slavery to becoming the children of Hashem, cradled in His loving embrace.
The midrash, in Shemos Rabboh 23:4, tells us that the Jews at the Splitting of the Sea were the first ever to sing shirah, songs of praise, to Hashem, although there were many instances when such praise and song would have been justified. Why didn’t we recite shirah when other great miracles happened? The Nesivos Sholom answers that at the Splitting of the Sea the Jews had a unique and powerful revelation that all that Hashem does for us is for the good; all the suffering we ever undergo is part of His divine plan.
Pesach and the time leading up to Pesach is the time for our families to study the true meaning of emunah. We show our children that Pesach preparation is not a burden. By studying the Exodus we learn of the miracles that Hashem performed by freeing us from slavery. A proper appreciation of Pesach also allows us to escapes the shackles, trials, and tribulations of day-to-day life and to realize that we are the children of Hashem. Hashem’s ongoing care and hashgochoh, although sometimes veiled, allows us and our families to further connect with Him and His Torah.
Best wishes for a good Shabbos and a Chag Kasher Vesame’ach! Enjoy.
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman