Monday, April 14, 2008

Guest Posting By Rabbi Tal Zwecker - Chad Gadya

(Illustration by Ben Shahn)

Degel Machaneh Ephraim
Shabbos HaGadol Drash - Sudilkov - 1782 /5542

Chad Gadya - One kid that my father bought for two zuz. We will explain this using the method of remez (using hints and allusions). By manner through which the Holy Zohar says "Worthy is he who can go in and come out and go in." This is alluded to by the fact that we say he buys or acquires. And Abba, the father, alludes to the [sefirah] of Chochma as is known. With two zuz as in the Gemara Kesubos 27 b Lo Zaza Yada (Zaza moves and Zuz share the same spelling). This alludes to the duality movement of movement (two zuz, hence two types of movement going in [and coming out] and going in again) whereby he moves from one level to the next. At first he goes in and later he goes in again. The one who has intellect will understand.

Rabbi Tal Zwecker comments:

This piece is very deep and I had to study it before I could explain it.

When a person wishes to walk the pathways of teshuva (return and repentance), he must be a baki (expert) in Halacha (literally walking on the way). He must be an expert in both the ways of running and returning. As taught in the Zohar III 292a, "Deserving is he who enters and exists [and enters]" etc. This is the passage quoted by the Degel above. More on this topic can be found in Likutei Moharan 6:4.

The idea here is that there are two levels: going up and going down. We all experience these ups and downs during the times of our lives. However, the concept is known as yerida letzorech aliya, we descend in order to ascend. When we hit rock bottom, when we feel like we are at the bottom of the pit when we can't get any lower, that's when we have to remember that the Zohar is saying he enters leaves and enters again. We have a high, a rush, then we are let down but this is temporary until we rise and ascend to an even higher height. The Breslov seforim read yerida tachlis aliya, the purpose of downs is to help you rise. In Chabad its reads yerida letzorech aliya gedola yoser, you have downs to help you rise to even higher heights.

This is Pesach - as Rav Baruch Mezbizer taught, "Chazal teaches that Hashem says open me a small opening like the eye of a needle and I will open it for you like a vast hall" And by Pesach it says Pasach Hashem al HaPetach, Hashem skipped over the doorways [lit. openings]. On the seder night there is a high a hitarus dilela, we rise to the highest height! Ayil, we enter, then nafik we go out, there is a down where we count sefira we must mourn the death of Rabbi Akiva's talmidim, the gift is gone and we must do the work ourselves. When we reach Shavous ve'Ayil we enter once more having done the work and climbed the mountain ourselves. This is the tzorach aliya gedola yoser, this is that purpose of the aliya that comes from hitting rock bottom.

A five minute audio shiur on another shtickel of the Degel's teachings on the Haggadah can be heard here:

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