Friday, April 18, 2014

Redone essay following seder discussion

In Hilchot Chametz U’matza, Rambam explains that the “zechira” of sippur of Pesach
"זכור את היום הזה אשר יצאתם"” is to be understood in the same sense as "זכור את יום השבת" of the Kiddush of Shabbat.

הלכות חמץ ומצה פרק ז א מצות עשה של תורה לספר בניסים ונפלאות שנעשו לאבותינו במצריים, בליל חמישה עשר בניסן--שנאמר "זכור את היום הזה אשר יצאתם" (שמות יג,ג), כמה שנאמר "זכור את יום השבת" (שמות כ,ז

Question: In our experience, Kiddush and sippur seem to be fundamentally dissimilar activities. Sippur is storytelling, giving an all night personal account of yetziat mitzraim events. Kiddush is a terse conceptual statement containing no personal account of the events of Creation at all. What common nature unites these seemingly distinct, activities of Sippur and Kiddush ?

Answer: In Hilchot Shabbat, Rambam identifies the underlying nature, common to Kiddush and Sippur—the idea of the Holy. In this context, “Zechira” means to properly recognize the Kedusha character of something, in carefully formulated speech.

 הלכות שבת הלכה א מצות עשה מן התורה לקדש את יום השבת בדברים שנאמר זכור את יום השבת לקדשו. כלומר זכרהו זכירת שבח וקידוש.

The institution of “zechira”, pausing to properly recognize Kedusha, presupposes a resistance to Kedusha that must be overcome.  It is in our nature to do Craft-- constantly reorder the material world to be in in line with our ideal concepts. Letting go of our creative enterprise of constant change to reflect on the underlying System, the unchanging Kedusha of His Concept, is difficult for us.  Yet, if we are to grow as minds, we must be able to let the Wisdom of His Action into our carefully guarded creative world. We must set aside Holy times to deeply reflect on the true nature of His Action, unfiltered by the psychological categories of our creative enterprise.  Zechira reminds us that we must be open to being merely a creature overcome by wonder and appreciation for the grandeur of the Divine Creation System. The carefully ordered speech of zechira empowers us to navigate the transition from our psychological world with its loves and hates, successes and failures, happiness and sadness to reflection on the grand systems and processes of His Creation on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

 ז זכור את-יום השבת, לקדשו.  ח ששת ימים תעבוד, ועשית כל-מלאכתך.  ט ויום, השביעי--שבת, ליהוה אלוהיך:  לא-תעשה כל-מלאכה אתה ובנך ובתך, עבדך ואמתך ובהמתך, וגרך, אשר בשעריך.  י כי ששת-ימים עשה יהוה את-השמיים ואת-הארץ, את-הים ואת-כל-אשר-בם, וינח, ביום השביעי; על-כן, בירך יהוה את-יום השבת--ויקדשהו.

Shabbat and Yom Tov each emphasize one of the two perspectives on Kedusha in His System: Zecher Limaase Bresheet and Zecher Liyitziat Mitzraim. Each perspective of zechira, requires its own unique form of transition from the psychological categories of our world to appreciation of His Order. In Zecher Limaase Bresheet we must appreciate Kedusha as manifest in the ongoing existence of of the Cosmic system testified to by Shabbos. זכרון למעשה בראשית

   י כי ששת-ימים עשה יהוה את-השמיים ואת-הארץ, את-הים ואת-כל-אשר-בם, וינח, ביום השביעי; על-כן, בירך יהוה את-יום השבת--ויקדשהו.  

In stark contrast, in Zecher Yetziat Mitzraim we appreciate Kedusha as manifest in the particular Order of man carried out by the unique Jewish civilization on Earth  ברוך אתה ה', מקדש ישראל והזמנים  Each transition to Kedusha requires its own adjustment to our psychic identity. The Kiddush of Shabbat seeks to recognize the Universal Order of the system of the Cosmos. Attaining the objective state of mind needed to recognize the Universal Order of the Cosmos, requires a theoretical perspective upon man’s place in the grand Order. This perspective necessarily de-emphasizes the distraction of individual experience of being a creative conqueror. We mention the political order of the species --zecher li’ytiziat mitzraim-- but do not expand upon individual experience in Kiddush. זכרהו זכירת שבח וקידוש.  

The Sippur of Pesach seeks to recognize the particular Political Order of Man. Acting as a Sovereign, asserting Divine Justice upon an Egyptian State dominated by the personality of Paroh, Hashem opens up an eternal opportunity for freedom to all individuals. Proper recognition of yetziat mitzraim requires that we de-emphasize the distraction of the Cosmic Order and expand mightily upon the metamorphosis of His Sovereignty over civilization which affords each and every one of us freedom of mind. A malchus Shamayim civilization composed of Free men affords the opportunity to be a completely different kind of conqueror. 

Rather than living a life of tyranny, enslaved by a P’aroh like personality need to dominate the Earthly system and fellow men, we become educated just minds. A free educated mind engages in the lifelong moed framework in which we apply our knowledge in beneficial harmony with the Earthly system and mankind. It is this framework of growth in human kedusha which underlies beis din’s setting up of the Moed and calendar by Divine command:  ברוך אתה ה', מקדש ישראל והזמנים

The sippur account of yetziat mitzraim therefore limits its mention of the Cosmic order and expands greatly on the metamorphosis to ongoing freedom granted each of us individually by His Redemptive Justice. Shifting from the conventions of ideology to gratitude for the ongoing individual freedom of Redemptive Justice is best facilitated by a personal formulation of yetziat mitzraim,
כפי צחות לשון המספר, in expansive sippur of the limitations of the ideological State VS the opportunity of His Order of Redemptive Justice.

המצווה הקנ"ז הציווי שנצטווינו לספר ביציאת מצרים בליל ט"ו בניסן בתחילת הלילה כפי צחות לשון המספר, וכל מה שיוסיף לספר ולהאריך בדברים בהגדלת מה שעשו בנו ומה שענו אותנו המצרים ואיך נפרע לנו ה' מהם, ולהודות לו יתעלה, על כל החסד אשר גמלנו הרי זה משבח, כמו שאמרו: כל המאריך לספר יציאת מצרים, הרי זה משבח

The zechira of kiddush and sippur, is in fact, the exact same activity-- metamorphosis from the eminently practical state of mind of the order of everyday life to the fundamentally different state of mind of theoretical recognition of the magnificence of His Order. Each zechira identifies one of the two possible paths we travel to reflecting on His Order: a. Universal Order--Hashem Creator of the Cosmos de-emphasizing the human Order  b. Particular Human Order-- Hashem the redeemer of His People Israel, deemphasizing the Cosmic Order. The specific human experience we undergo in recognizing Him through these two core acts, determines the form of rigorous speech we use, the conceptual statement of kiddush which evokes wonder at the Cosmic Order or the descriptive form of sippur which evokes gratitude and thanksgiving at the opportunity for enduring freedom within a Civilization built upon the foundations of His Order of Redemptive Justice.

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