Monday, March 24, 2008

Thirty Days Before Pesach

On Rosh Hashanah 7 there is an extensive discussion about the calculation of leap years. One of the opinions presented is that the decision to declare a leap year can only be made until Purim because of a basic fact of Jewish life. Since the laws of Pesach are publicly taught during the thirty days that precede the festival, people would not accept the deferment of the holiday after having already spent time in intensive preparation. Even now, the thirty days just before Pesach is a period that presents unique challenges for both the ba’al habayis readying his home for the festival, as well as the Rav responsible for making sure that his community knows the appropriate halachos.

One year, well in advance of Pesach, the Rav of a large city came to visit with the renowned Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk, zt”l. He had come to receive a brochah from the great tzaddik.

Rebbe,” he said, “Please bless me so that I won’t stumble in any of the halachic rulings that I am going to have to make regarding Pesach. So many people come to me with difficult questions about chometz, and I am so in need of siyatta d’shemaya!”

The Radomsker Rebbe answered his visitor, “The greatest possible segulah for success in your rulings is to review all of the relevant halachos very, very thoroughly. As you well know, we begin our real study of the laws of Pesach from thirty days before the festival. If you’ll follow the words of Chazal and delve into the halachah as you should, you will merit to receive all of the siyatta d’shemaya that you need!”

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