Time To Prepare by Rabbi Steven Finkelstein


Vayikra El Moshe Vaydabeir Hashem Eilav MeiOhel Moeid Leimor,” “He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying.” 

Rashi explains the extra word “Vayikra,” “He called,” to mean that before sharing any statement, saying, or command with Moshe, Hashem would first call out to him.  Rashi further explains that this calling out is “Leshon Chibah,” an expression of Hashem’s affection for Moshe.  While there are many ways to understand the message of Hashem’s calling out indicating affection, the Hafla’ah proposes one of the more novel explanations.  He suggests that out of love for Moshe, Hashem wanted him to fully enjoy and appreciate each new idea and command, so Hashem would call out to him beforehand in order to give Moshe the opportunity to prepare himself both emotionally and spiritually for the message that would soon follow.

In other words, the Hafla’ah is teaching us that in order for human beings to fully enjoy, appreciate, and ultimately benefit from an experience, they must first prepare themselves beforehand; they have to “get psyched up.”  Without advanced preparation, it is possible to go through some of life’s most powerful experiences without being moved or inspired, antithetical to Hashem’s message that He conveys to Moshe here.  Understanding the importance of this idea, the Chasidim HaRishonim would actually prepare themselves for an entire hour before every Tefillah in order to reap the maximum benefit from every conversation with Hashem.  

With the beginning of Chodesh Nissan, our physical preparations for Pesach are in high gear.  Our time is filled with shopping, cleaning, cooking and packing.  With so much going on, it is important to remember that there is also a spiritual and emotional preparation that needs to happen as Pesach approaches.  If we and our families are going to enjoy and grow spiritually through this Yom Tov, we need to pause for a moment from the physical preparations and concentrate on the deeper meanings of our observance by exploring the Hagadah, reviewing the Halachot of Pesach, and considering the symbolic meaning of removing Chametz from our lives.

It is only through this type of preparation that we will be able to truly appreciate fully all that Pesach has to offer.


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