- Very appropriate read for before the first meal of Passover. It is a letter from the Piascetzner Rebbe, Reb Kalonymus Kalman Shapira zt”l hy”d, to his Chassidim; written just before Pesach 5699 (1939). Printed in Sefer Derech HaMelech.
My dear ones, I am calling to you and speaking to your souls. The Holy days of Pesach are approaching. The holiness of these days infuse us thoroughly; inside and out. Their light fills us and encompasses us.
Nevertheless is stated, “Ohr zarua laTzaddik, U’ l’Yishrei lev simcha (Light is sown for the righteous and there is joy for the upright of heart.”) – Tehilim 97:11. Light is like a seedling; at the beginning it requires our nurturing and our efforts to foster its growth. Like a field needs plowing and hoeing and weeding watering, so do we need to prepare ourselves before the festival. Without the preparation, there can be no joy, no growth and no light. With all the preparations needed for the festival, we must be careful not do divert our attention from ourselves, not to forget to draw down the Holiness of the season.
The main aspect of the festival is to be joyful; to praise and glorify God for all the miracles and all the goodness. This is actually the purpose of the entire creation and the essence of the relationship between the earthly creation and the heavenly family above.
When the time comes for the Pesach evening Maariv prayer, you should rejoice in your tremendous fortune, in the great privilege you have to be engaged in the service of Pesach. You should say to yourself, “My joy is without bounds that I have been granted the opportunity to achieve my purpose in the world and to be elevated to the upper spheres. True I have my problems, both material and spiritual, but for now I discard them, the entire world is longer important to me. I even nullify my own self in order to stand in the company of angels, awaiting the presence of God. My only thought is to praise and glorify his great name and to draw down the Holy splendor of God’s light into the world, into my own soul and into the souls of my family.”
Your joy should so exalted that you feel that you can barely hold yourself back from breaking into an ecstatic dance; leaping from the earth to the heavens.
Afterwards when you sit at the seder table, you imagine yourself sitting down to a festive meal in Gan Eden (paradise) itself, participating in the celebration of the geula shleimah (final redemption). All of the aspects of the seder, eating the matzo and maror, drinking the four cups of wine, and reciting the Haggadah, Hallel and other songs of praise, comprise a holy service to God. The angels above are crowded around to hear our praises of God. Even God himself rejoices in delight as he receives our praise and song as is known from the esoteric literature.
A Jew is able to feel God’s delight with each word that he utters from the Haggadah. He is imbued with such holiness that he is replete with sorrow when he finishes each word; if only he could go back and recite the Hallel another 1000 times, he would do so. His whole being is at one with his Creator as he recites words of incredible sweetness; the Haggadah lying open in front of him. One must endeavor to provide sanctuary for the holiness of this night, so that it will abide by him for the whole year.
…Continue to foster your love for your fellow for that is the hinge on which all divine service revolves… I bless you with …a Kosher and joyous Pesach.
Ah Freilichen Pesach