Chicago Peter Hamor and the War
Yesterday, the Chicago community had the rare opportunity to be a part of the Mitzva of Pidyon Peter Hamor.
There were Shiurim before the event and the event itself was very well-attended. Rav Zev Cohen Shlit"a was the Kohen who did the redeeming. It was quite a unique event - especially in Chicago - and it was a wonderful event overall.
Rav Ephraim Twerski Shlit"a of Cong. Khal Chassidim delivered a most memorable introductory speech. He made the following points (which I know I'm not doing justice to, but very summarized):
1) The huge crowd at the event - even though they are not participating directly - are considered נטפל לעושי מצוה - and are therefore rewarded like those doing the Mitzva themselves (as per the Mishna on Makkot 5b).
2) The donkey represents Humriut - materialism - and the sheep represents Ruhniyut - spirituality. We redeem our materialism and limit it as much as possible and try to replace it with as much spirituality as possible.
3) The donkey represents Am Hadomeh Lahamor, who currently control the Beit Hamikdash area and are waging war against us. The sheep represents Am Yisrael (עמך וצאן מרעיתך). Through this Mitzvah, we are asking Hashem to please redeem Am Yisrael from the Am Hadomeh Lahamor and bring Mashiah Tzidkeinu. But if we're not worthy enough to be redeemed, at the very least: וערפתו - break its neck.