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Monday, April 18, 2011

Dip Twice to Show you Care

From YWN's Parsha Potpourri - Pesah Edition
L’shana HaBa’ah B’Yerushalayim (Haggadah Shel Pesach)

The Pesach Seder begins with a prayer: this year we are here, next year we should be in the land of Israel. The Haggadah also ends with this same theme, next year in Jerusalem. This is somewhat unusual, as we don’t find such an emphasis on praying for the redemption on other festivals. The reason that we do so on Pesach is that a complete Seder must include the consumption of the Korban Pesach, which can only be offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, which is currently in ruins.

However, once we are focusing on our desire for the speedy rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, it is surprising that nowhere in the Haggadah do we discuss why we in fact presently lack the Temple and work on rectifying the sins which brought about its destruction. The Gemora teaches (Yoma 9b) teaches that the second Temple was destroyed because of the sin of baseless hatred, and it will not be rebuilt until we correct the problem of fighting and divisiveness. In light of this, it would seem appropriate to address this sin at some point and to help us take corrective action to atone for it.

The Ben Ish Chai suggests that this concept is in fact found in the Haggadah. It is alluded to by the question in which we point out that on all other nights, we do not dip even one time, but tonight we dip twice. He explains that the first dipping at the Seder, in which we dip the vegetable into salt water, is intended to remind us of the first time that dipping is mentioned in the Torah, when Yosef’s brothers dipped his clothing into blood in order to deceive Yaakov into thinking that he had been killed by a wild animal. This act represents the sin of baseless hatred which led to our enslavement in Egypt, and from which we have suffered as a nation throughout the generations.

The second dipping that we do at the Seder, dipping the maror into the charoses, corresponds to the second act of dipping that we find in the Torah. In Parshas Bo (Shemos 12:22), Hashem commanded the Jewish people to take a bundle of hyssop – and dip it in the blood of the Passover-offering, which they then placed on their doorposts in order to protect themselves from the plague of the slaying of the first-born.

The Ben Ish Chai points out that in discussing this second dipping, the Torah uses the term “agudah,” which refers to a bundle that is bound together. This symbolizes the concept of Jewish unity, and it was precisely this sense of togetherness which rectified the sin of the original dipping of Yosef’s brothers, and which therefore enabled them to be freed from their bitter servitude in Egypt.

As we go through the Seder, it is critical that we reflect upon and internalize the message of the two dippings. Just as we were enslaved in Egypt due to the jealousy of Yosef’s brothers but were freed when we united and came together as one nation, so too the only way for us to be redeemed from our current exile, which was also brought about through the sins of hatred and divisiveness, is to promote peace and harmony among all Jews. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that we begin the Seder by saying, “whoever is hungry, let him come and eat,” as we express our desire to bring everybody together to eat the Passover-offering together with us, which we should all merit to do this year.

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© 2011 by Oizer Alport

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