Monday, March 31, 2008

Pay Attention!

What is the significance of the exclusion of any cooking method for the korban Pesach other than dry roasting ? According to the Chid”a zt”l, the korban represents our inborn character traits, and the Maharal zt”l tells us that fire symbolizes the blazing light and energy of the intellect that is completely distinct from the material nature of the body. Not only is the mind distinct from the body, it is its very opposite—like fire, it consumes the material that it touches.

Roasting the korban Pesach directly over the flames signifies that when the fire of the mind is applied to each of our middos, we can discern precisely how, when, and to what extent it is to be utilized. This process goes against the natural human tendency to coast along passively manipulated by our middos. When we choose, instead, to pay attention and apply the mind’s fire to alter our course, we become worthy of cleaving to the ultimate intellect, Hashem, who is called “…a consuming fire.” (Devarim 4:24)

Rav Shach zt”l told the following true story:

In a certain shtetl, a shop that sold treife meat was unfortunately owned by Jews. The proprietors approached the Rav of the town and had the temerity to ask for…a hechsher! The Rav was flabbergasted. “How can I possibly give you a hechsher, when you sell nonkosher meat?!”

The owners glibly replied, “That’s our point—you should give us a letter that clearly states that we sell treife meat, and our shop is completely nonkosher.”

The Rav could not see the purpose of such a letter, but acquiesced. He handed them what they asked for, signed and sealed by him.

The storeowners framed the document and hung it on the wall behind the register, right near the entrance. Everyone saw the name and seal of the Rav up on the wall, and people flocked to the store to buy meat—no one bothered to read the fine print!

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