Pesach, People and Prayers

A number of years ago, a friend bought us a big mural for our Succah that depicted the approach to the Beis HaMikdash during Yom Tov. That image, coupled with memories of tunnel tours and visiting the Old City, paints a picture in my mind of what it will be like when we all gather in Yerushalayim during the Yom Tovim when the Beis HaMikdash is rebuilt. We will have an amazing opportunity for collective spiritual growth.

We needn’t wait for Moshiach to experience some of this. In fact the Ramban writes at the end of Parshas Bo: ”And the purpose of raising our voices in prayer and the purpose of Shuls and the merit of communal prayer is that people should have a place where they can gather and acknowledge that G-d created them and caused them to be and they can publicize this and declare before Him, “We are your creations”.

Every Yom Tov we have the opportunity to experience this growth and particularly on Pesach with its multitude of Hallels. If we can put a little bit of focus into our recitation of Hallel, including the half-Hallels of Chol HaMoed, we can benefit greatly from the Yom Tov, even absent the Beis HaMikdash.

Another major part of Yom Tov is the unity that comes from being with our fellow Jews. On the Yom Tovim millions of Jews will gather together in Yerushalayim. The resulting unity is another key component of growth. We can get a taste of this unity in our Shuls on Yom Tov with all our fellow members and their guests.

Rabbi Yitzchak Kirzner, zt”l, who I had the privilege to learn from for a number of years, said that “All of life is a challenge of not being distracted from the greatness that we can be”. Yom Tov gives us special opportunity to focus on our people and our prayers and thereby grow in our collective greatness.

Chag Kosher V’Someach